MANATEE — There are questions surrounding a recently-released prison inmate’s wild crime spree that started early Saturday at Annie’s Bait & Tackle in Cortez and ended with his capture in south Sarasota County later that day.
“For one thing, we are wondering what he was doing in Cortez at 7:30 a.m. Saturday,” Dave Bristow, a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said Sunday. “Did he know someone there? We don’t know.”
Bristow is speaking of Jason Wayo, 34, of North Port, who has 14 prior felony convictions and was just released from prison six months ago, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
Wayo had an active warrant for violation of probation for dealing in stolen property, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office added.
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During his Saturday spree, Wayo is suspected of committing at least two home invasion robberies and stealing four vehicles which he crashed or abandoned before he ended his run by barricading himself in a home in the 3600 block of Roslyn Road in Venice, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team surrounded the house and negotiators ultimately convinced Wayo to surrender peacefully about 4:30 p.m. after a three-hour stand-off.
It all started 7:30 a.m. Saturday when the owner of Annie’s called the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office when she came to work to report a Mercury Sable in her parking lot with deployed airbags, Bristow said.
The Mercury turned out to be stolen from another county, Bristow added. “We got this call for a burglary at the same time and we began to put it together,” Bristow said.
Wayo apparently had a minor crash in the Mercury, left it at Annie’s and walked a short distance in Cortez to Harbor Landings where he walked into an occupied home, Bristow said.
“These two people in the residence got up to find a strange guy in their house trying to burglarize it,” Bristow said. “The suspect then ran out of the house and into the garage and stole the couple’s Cadillac, which they had left the keys in the ignition.”
After the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office put out a “Be On The Look-Out” for the Cadillac, Sarasota deputies spotted it and gave chase, Bristow said.
Wayo stole other vehicles all the way and ended up in Venice, Bristow said.After his surrender, Wayo was taken to Venice Regional Medical Center for treatment and then questioned by detectives, according to a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office report.
Because these crimes are being investigated by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota Police Department and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, each agency will bring charges at the appropriate time based on their individual investigations.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 6686.