ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Three teens were arrested Thursday in St. Johns County after a citizen spotted them breaking into a home and called police, the Sheriff's Office said.
The teens are suspected in a string of burglaries to homes in the county.
Damon Badie, 14, Jaheim Watkins, 14, and Mikal Hines, 15, are each charged with five counts of burglary, three counts of grand theft and two counts of petty theft. Badie is also charged with grand theft of a firearm.
Deputies, along with detectives assigned to the Southwest District, responded to the report of a burglary in progress on Scheidel Way just before 1 p.m. Thursday. The 911 caller told police that at least one person had broken out a window of a neighbor’s home and that two black males were later seen leaving the home and riding away on bicycles.
911 Dispatcher: "They're breaking into the house right now?"
911 Caller: "They're breaking into the house. They broke out the window. The bicycle is on the back patio."
Dispatcher: "Is that what they came on?"
In the 911 call, as the man describes the two suspects to the dispatcher, he then stops to say another suspect had appeared.
Caller: "There's another guy riding off now. He has a backpack on, an Adidas backpack."
Deputies confronted three teens not far away, and immediately detained Badie, who was found to be armed with a stolen handgun in his waistband from a separate burglary, deputies said.
Watkins and Hines ran off into the community but were caught later on Josiah Street with help from K-9 units and aviation support, deputies said.
One resident described the chaotic scene as deputies flooded the streets.
"I was sleeping. I didn't get up until about 1:30, and I looked out my window and I saw these police cars and I didn't know what was going on at the time," said Janet Hull, who later found out that her neighbor's home across the street had been burglarized.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the three teens were in possession of numerous items allegedly taken from the Scheidel Way residence, including electronic equipment, jewelry, money and martial arts knives.
During the investigative process, additional stolen items were discovered at an off-site location, including another stolen handgun taken from yet another burglary. A search warrant was also obtained for another location, where more items were discovered.
All three suspects were arrested and taken to a juvenile facility for processing.
"I feel sorry for them because they're going to not have a life, very much. They're going to have a record against them," Hull said.
Additional charges could be coming, and additional persons of interest are being sought, deputies said.
The State Attorney's Office will decide whether the three teens will be charged as adults.