Burglary suspect arrested after 2 1/2-hour search in East Manatee

November 12, 2012 

MANATEE -- A 21-year-old man has been charged with breaking into two homes, dragging with his car a resident who tried to stop him, crashing into another house and leading deputies on a short foot chase, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Billy Donahue was arrested after a search, involving K-9 units and a helicopter from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, that lasted about 2 1/2 hours, according to a report.

At 6:52 a.m. Monday, a resident in the 13600 block of Seventh Avenue Circle Northeast, in the Mill Creek subdivision in East Manatee, told the sheriff's office said there was an intruder in her garage rifling through her van.

"She yelled at him ordering him to leave the garage and she was calling the police. Suspect stated, 'Go ahead and call them,' and she locked herself inside the home with her daughter," a release states.

As deputies were searching the area, there was a report of a second burglary, in the 500 block of Country Meadows Way, in the Country Creek subdivision. The victim told deputies he saw a man similar in description to the suspect in the earlier case, inside his garage, according to the sheriff's office.

"When the suspect jumped into a dark-colored, four-door vehicle, (the resident) attempted to grab the car keys and pull the suspect out of the car. The suspect fled, dragging the victim for a short distance," the release states.

While fleeing, the suspect failed to negotiate a curb and drove into the back of a residence in the 14700 block of Second Avenue Circle Northeast. The resident saw the suspect running into some woods west of the house, according to the report.

During the search, two deputies spotted the suspect and chased him on foot, but they lost sight of him

Soon after, the search was moved to the area near Christian Retreat after a man was seen hiding in some bushes.

At 9:25 a.m., deputies located the suspect, identified as Billy Donahue, hiding under a mobile home and arrested him, according to the sheriff's office.

He was taken to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center for evaluation and then to the Manatee County jail.

Donahue faces several charges, including occupied burglary, aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, hit-and-run with property damage. Bond information was not available on the jail's website.

The Hillsborough sheriff's helicopter was used in the search because of mechanical problems with the Manatee sheriff's helicopter.

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