Two Sarasota men are facing charges after they were found hiding near a stolen car on elementary school property.
The chain of events began on Wednesday night, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a police report, a female driver left her car running while she went inside of a Sarasota store. The driver witnessed two males leave the store while she was inside. When she came back out, her car was gone.
Around 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, deputies responded to a report of a vehicle stuck in a ditch at Taylor Ranch Elementary in Venice.
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It was the vehicle that was reported stolen, but there was no one inside.
The elementary school was placed under lockdown as law enforcement set up a perimeter and searched the area; K9 and aerial units were also called in.
Maintenance staff alerted deputies that a man was seen crawling out from underneath a maintenance trailer.
Deputies later located and detained the man, 29-year-old William Berry, who admitted to being a passenger in the stolen vehicle.
Berry then gave a description of the man who had allegedly been driving the vehicle. Deputies found 27-year-old Kollin Melton hiding under another nearby maintenance trailer.
Melton admitted to stealing the vehicle, driving past a gate and onto school grounds and getting the car stuck in a ditch. Berry said he was too intoxicated to remember the details of the car theft, according to the sheriff’s office.
Melton is charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, and both men are charged with trespassing on school grounds.
They remained in custody at Sarasota County Jail on Thursday.