(As originally published with additional photos, Tue, October 31st 2023, 5:28 PM EDT)
DAVIE, Fla. (TND) — Authorities in Florida say they stopped a string of auto thefts when they chased a stolen SUV from the state’s west coast to the east and arrested the three people who were inside.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office said the chain of events started Saturday afternoon when a white 2023 Land Rover was stolen from a home in North Naples by the trio who arrived in a black Mercedes.
Deputies immediately began a coordinated response, the sheriff’s office said, using technology to find the Mercedes and the stolen Land Rover.
They spotted the Land Rover speeding on the shoulder of Interstate 75, in the portion called Alligator Alley, through the Everglades.
More than a dozen auto theft units from the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol raced to the highway to intercept the vehicles.
Eventually, deputies and troopers attempted a traffic stop but said two of the suspects got out of the Land Rover, jumped into the Mercedes, and took off.
Finally, troopers performed a PIT maneuver on the Mercedes on State Road 84 and the three suspects tried to run away but multiple units, including a chopper and K9 units, had the trio boxed in, preventing their escape.
The troopers arrested DaJohn Reed, 19; Horace Ellis, 21; and Caleb Reed, 20, and said each will face multiple felonies.
Authorities said they found other license plates suspected to be stolen inside the trunk of the Mercedes. In fact, they said the plate on the Mercedes had been reported stolen from a Chevrolet in Fort Lauderdale, the day before, and the suspects were part of a group responsible for several vehicle thefts and robberies.
The Land Rover was reportedly in excellent condition when it was returned to its owner.