HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - A teen boy in Dover, Florida has admitted to joyriding through a strawberry crop with stolen vehicles causing thousands of dollars in damage. Police say this isn't his first arrest.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office arrested a 16-year-old in connection with a stolen ATV and UTV, which were later used to drive over rows of soon-to-be strawberries at a local farm. CW44 News At 10 will not disclose the teen's identity due to his age.
On October 21, 2020, deputies responded to an undisclosed residence on Bethlehem Road in Dover in reference to a stolen ATV. They discovered tire tracks at a nearby strawberry field, leading out to the road. The suspect(s) fled south on Bethlehem Road.
A UTV was also reported stolen that same day from a home on Sydney Washer Road in Dover. The suspect(s) later took both the stolen ATV and UTV to vandalize Astin Farms, located at 3610 Holloway Road in Plant City. They drove through rows of what would be strawberries in the coming months, causing approximately $3,000 worth of damage.
Deputies were able to locate the stolen ATV at another residence on Calhoun Road in Plant City. The 16-year-old boy was inside the home and confessed to stealing the vehicles. He also admitted to driving into Astin Farms. Deputies are working leads to identify and locate at least two other suspects at this time.
"Through investigative measures and help from technology, our deputies were able to make a quick arrest on this suspect," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "This individual not only stole from innocent victims, but he also put the livelihoods of farmers in jeopardy for his selfish actions. October is a critical month for strawberry farmers who are just putting seeds in the ground for harvest later this year and into next year."
The suspect is charged with Grand Theft Third Degree ($10,000-$20,000), Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure (x5), Grand Theft Third Degree ($750-$5,000) (x2), Dealing in Stolen Property, Trespass on Property Other than Structure or Conveyance, Criminal Mischief $1,000 or More, Grand Theft Motor Vehicle (x4), Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling, and Grand Theft Third Degree ($5,000-$10,000).
Authorities say this is not the boy's first run-in with law enforcement. He has been arrested more than a dozen times, which includes a recent burglary spree in Hillsborough County. Details of that arrest can be read here.
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