3 arrested after high-speed chase following Palmetto burglary

HERALD STAFF REPORTMarch 4, 2014 

Three suspects in a possible burglary in Palmetto on Monday led deputies on a chase that ended with their arrest at a shopping mall in Hillsborough County, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

About noon, a deputy responded to a possible burglary in progress in the 3400 block of 68th Street Circle East, Palmetto, according to a news release, and saw at least two people leaving a residence. The deputy tried to make contact with them, but they fled in a 2014 Hyundai, which the sheriff's office said had been stolen.

The chase began with deputies pursuing the vehicle east on Interstate 275 and then north on Interstate 75 briefly reaching speeds up to 125 mph, according to the sheriff's office.

The pursuit eventually entered Hillsborough County and ended up at the Brandon Westfield Mall at I-75 and State Road 60.

The suspects reportedly ran from the vehicle through the mall parking into the Dillard's store at the mall, deputies said.

Hillsborough deputies arrived, cleared the store of customers and employees and shut it down. Deputies reportedly found three suspects, including one hiding in the luggage section, and arrested them. Authorities said the store remained closed until 3 p.m.

Manatee deputies interviewed the suspects and inventoried physical evidence and the suspect vehicle, deputies said. Two flat screen TVs, computer equipment and two firearms, as well as other items, were reportedly taken in the burglary.

Darrell Matthew, 21; Jaquavius Francis, 18; and Patrick Hooker, 21, were charged with armed burglary and grand theft auto with additional charges pending. They were booked in the Hillsborough County jail and later transferred to the Manatee County jail.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol assisted in the pursuit and apprehension of the suspects.

Bay News 9 contributed to this story.

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