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Authorities: 3 rob convenience stores, steal clerk’s Jeep in ‘crime spree’

2 teens, adult found sleeping, arrested after GPS was used to locate Jeep, deputies say

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Three teenagers are facing charges in what the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office described as a “crime spree” involving two convenience store thefts and a stolen Jeep Gladiator.

According to the Sheriff’s office, the teens on Wednesday crashed a stolen Ford Explorer into an Interlachen convenience store where they stolen vape pens, cigarettes and $300 in lottery tickets. That happened around 4:24 a.m. at the Interlachen Fast Track.

Major Steve Rose says a deputy spotted the SUV and gave chase.

“They were on a dirt road so there was a lot of dust. For safety reason, the deputy made a wise choice and called off the pursuit,” Rose said.

Investigators said they continued on to Circle K in Palatka, where at 6:18 a.m. a clerk was held at gunpoint.

“They demanded the manager to give them cash. Once they got the cash, asked for the keys to his vehicle, which was a 2020 Jeep Gladiator,” Rose said.

Deputies said someone then drove the damaged Ford Explorer to the Jacksonville area, where it was abandoned.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies found the stolen Jeep in Hawthorne after they tracked it using its radio’s GPS system. They said the three teenagers were found inside, sleeping.

Four guns, deputies said, were also recovered, two of which had been reported stolen.

The teens, ages 16, 17 and 18, are all charged with armed burglary of a structure or conveyance, robbery with a firearm, grand theft using vehicle to damage property and carjacking with a firearm or weapon. The 18-year-old was taken to the Putnam County Jail, while the two minors were released to a juvenile detention center.