SARASOTA -- The Sarasota County Sheriffs Office says it has arrested five members of a south Florida crime ring who committed several smash-and-grab vehicle burglaries in Sarasota on Tuesday and then used the victims credit cards at area stores.
The investigation into the crime spree began about 7 p.m. when two women noticed their vehicle windows were smashed and purses stolen outside of Funtastics Gymnastics & Cheerleading on Ashton Road.
Deputies investigating that crime received a report of three additional vehicle burglaries at Twin Lakes Park on Clark Road, according to a news release.
Within the hour deputies were able to alert members of the tactical unit to locations where the stolen credit cards were being used.
Deputies located two suspicious vehicles at the Cattlemen Road Walmart and stopped them as they left the parking lot, according to the sheriff's office.
Most of the stolen property has been recovered.
"Detectives viewed store surveillance video which showed the suspects using the stolen credit cards. Some of the suspects had existing warrants or committed other offenses during this investigation," the report states.
The suspects are facing some 49 charges all totaled, including multiple counts of vehicle burglary, criminal use of personal information, fleeing to elude and providing false names to law enforcement while legally detained. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending, according to the sheriff's office.
Arrested in this crime spree are Ft. Lauderdale residents Marcus Thomas, 27; Christopher Pierre, 24; Jackie McBurrows, 23; Lionel Bain, Jr., 29; and Nick Arline, 29.
The suspects drove a silver 2012 Chrysler 200 and a silver 2004 Cadillac SUV, both of which were impounded. Detectives are trying to locate additional suspects, including a woman seen using one of the victims credit cards at CVS in the 5200 block of Clark Road.
Anyone with information about these suspects can call Criminal Investigations at 941-861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477), or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com or via text message by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637).