Lake City police: 1 sought, 2 arrested in robbery spree

Police: Search underway for Steffon Breedlove who's considered armed, dangerous

From left, Farrell Smith, Steffon Breedlove and Josey Carter.
From left, Farrell Smith, Steffon Breedlove and Josey Carter.

LAKE CITY, Fla. – Police arrested two men in connection to a robbery spree in the Lake City, but one man remains at large -- and he’s considered armed and dangerous, the Lake City Police Department announced Wednesday. 

Anyone with information on Steffon Breedlove is asked to call 911 immediately. A warrant with nationwide pickup has been obtained for the 22-year-old man, according to the Police Department.

Breedlove may still be in the Suwannee County area, investigators said.

“Thanks to the cooperative efforts between our investigators, two of the three suspects in this crime spree are behind bars,” Lake City Police Chief Argatha Gilmore said. “We ask anyone with knowledge of the third suspect’s whereabouts to contact us, but be cautious as (he) is likely armed.”

Just after 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 11, officers learned of an armed robbery that had just taken place at the Inn and Out RV Campground, located at 3010 West U.S. 90, police said.

Officers rushed to the convenience store on the campground, but the robbers were already gone.

Video surveillance showed two men entering the store armed with handguns and wearing masks. Lake City officials released photos and portions of the footage on social media, and that’s when officers with the Live Oak Police Department contacted them, saying they believed the same men had robbed several stores in their jurisdiction.

Police identified the robbers’ getaway vehicle as a white minivan, which had been stolen, authorities said.

As the police departments from Live Oak and Lake City collaborated on the investigation, officials from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Lake City Police Department, saying they too had experienced several robberies in their area. Based on the men’s clothing descriptions, they believed the same men were responsible.

On Nov. 13, Live Oak police found the minivan used in the robbery spree. It had been abandoned.

Next, Farrell Smith, 20, was arrested on an unrelated robbery warrant from Alachua County, and jailed in Suwannee County, police said.

Smith was uncooperative when investigators interviewed him, according to officers.

But police found a Walmart receipt in the van, and authorities tracked down video of the transaction from the retail giant. The video showed Smith and two other men -- one of whom was believed to be the second robber in the previous videos -- at the Live Oak Walmart, using a Coinstar machine to cash out loose change from their robberies, police said.

One of the men was identified as Breedlove. The third person in the video was 18-year-old Josey Carter, police determined.

Carter, who officers said likely wasn’t inside any of the stores during the robberies, was found and interviewed at Columbia High School, where he attends classes. The student admitted he was present during some of the robberies, and then police took him to the Lake City Police Department for another talk, investigators said.

During his interview, Carter confessed to his involvement in the robberies, including acting as the getaway driver for most of them, according to police.

He also identified Smith and Breedlove as the two men shown in the various videos.

Over the course of the investigation, Smith, Breedlove, and Carter were connected to the Nov. 11 robbery of the campground in Lake City; the robberies of two Circle K shops in Alachua County on Nov. 9 and Nov. 11; two more robberies in Live Oak -- one at an SNP Foodmart and the other at Stop N Shop, on Nov. 9 and Nov. 11, respectively; and a robbery of the Busy Bee in Welborn on Oct. 20, police said.

Carter has been arrested for his confessed participation in these crimes, and is held at the Suwannee County Jail on a $300,000 bond.

Smith has been transferred to the Alachua County Jail on a $630,000 bond.

All three of the men are from Live Oak. Breedlove faces charges of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and aggravated assault with a firearm.

The other two men face a slew of counts from Lake City, Suwannee County and Alachua County.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call in anonymously to the tip line at 386-719-2068, or email tips@lcflapd.com.

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