YULEE, Fla. – Some quick work by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is credited with thwarting a group of four people suspected of shoplifting more than $3,200 in merchandise from a Yulee sporting goods store.
And that might not be the only theft the group is behind.
The four were arrested Sunday afternoon after they bailed out of a minivan seen leaving the scene of a reported theft at Hibbett Sports near State Road 200 and Eric Oliver Way, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“Generally, if they’re committing crimes here, they’re committing crimes in other areas, too,” Sheriff Bill Leeper told News4Jax on Friday. “So, we solve a lot of crimes that way.”
Deputies were called after employees said two men and two women left the business without paying for more than 80 items. The group got into a silver Dodge minivan and drove west along SR 200.
It was an off-duty deputy working nearby who spotted the vehicle as it neared the intersection of SR 200 and Felmor Road. The deputy switched on his siren and tried to pull over the van, but it kept going.
The pursuit wove west onto Pages Dairy Road back towards U.S. 17. But after seeing a road block at the intersection, the van’s driver turned right onto Goodbread Road, veered off the road and hit a tree.
All four people bailed out of the van and took off, but they were taken into custody a short time later. Deputies recovered 82 items from the van, some of which were tucked under the floorboards.
Under arrest are Marcus Barr, 26; Arisha Moss, 22; Demery Smith, 21; and Anthony Gooden, 41.
“They come into Nassau County, we’re going to work until we find them and arrest them for the crimes they commit,” the sheriff said.
The four are each charged with theft and resisting arrest. Barr also is charged with fleeing and eluding, simple battery and no valid driver’s license. They all remained in custody as of Friday afternoon.
On Friday, News4Jax received a tip that a group driving a vehicle with a matching description might be involved in a Jan. 17 theft at the Bealls on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville. Leeper said the tag provided by the tipster matched the one from Sunday’s case, so he notified the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“Nassau County’s kind of in a vulnerable spot – Georgia to the north, Jacksonville to the south,” Leeper said. “Sometimes people think they can come into Nassau County, commit crimes and leave and not get caught, so it’s very important to us to work with other agencies.”