Six teens arrested trying to steal gas from parked cars in Bradenton

March 26, 2014 

Justin Portuondo, burglary, $1,500 bond

BRADENTON -- Six teenagers, including three with court-ordered curfews, were caught early Wednesday after they tried stealing from parked vehicles along Bay Drive and 26th Street West, detectives say.

Just after 3 a.m., a 56-year-old Bradenton resident saw two people looking in his parked vehicle with flashlights, according to a sheriff's report. He looked outside and saw a girl in the bed of his pickup truck, which was parked in his driveway in the 3100 block of Bay Drive.

When he went outside to confront her, she exited the vehicle and ran to a tan Ford Explorer that was waiting nearby, the report states. The man saw six people inside the Explorer, which sped from the scene. The man called 911, and told the operator that he saw the same vehicle pass by his house again. Responding officers saw the vehicle traveling north on 26th Street West, and initiated a traffic stop.

The vehicle came to an abrupt stop in the driveway of a residence in the 2500 block of Bayshore Gardens Parkway, the report states. The passenger door of the vehicle opened and the occupants appeared as if they were going to flee on foot, deputies reported. They were confronted by K-9 Casio, "causing them to rethink their plan," according to the report.

They closed the door of the vehicle and complied with officers' orders. Backup units arrived, and all six suspects were arrested and attempts to contact the juveniles' parents were made. The victim arrived at the traffic stop and identified the Explorer and one of the suspects as the person he saw in his vehicle. He also identified property in the Explorer that had been taken from his vehicle.

The suspects told investigators that they were trying to steal gas from vehicles. They said they had to drive to Sarasota to drop off a friend and none of them had gas money. Background checks found that three of the teens had court-ordered curfews. All six were arrested and charged with burglary. One suspect, Justin D Portuondo, is 18 and is charged as an adult.

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