16 arrested in shoplifting bust. Two women tried to get away with a baby, cops say

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Two women face additional charges in a Sarasota retail theft operation after endangering the life of an infant as they attempted to run from authorities, Sarasota County deputies say.

Danielle Lingard, 42, and Emily Struble, 19 — both from Bradenton — were booked into the Sarasota County jail on grand theft, resisting retail merchant and two counts of child neglect charges stemming from a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office retail theft operation.

According to a press release, Lingard and Struble were at the Dillard’s department store on July 10 in the Mall at University Town Center where loss prevention officers saw the pair stealing $600 in merchandise. Loss prevention attempted to detain them, but the two women ran away while pushing an infant in a stroller through traffic, according to the sheriff’s office.

Witnesses told deputies that the two women got into a vehicle driven by Osmel Fuentes, 23 — also from Bradenton — and the trio sped away. Deputies stopped them a short time later and found the infant, as well as a second child in the backseat, with the stolen merchandise. The children were unharmed.

Fuentes also is charged with two counts of child neglect, as well as fleeing to elude and grand theft.

In all, deputies netted 16 arrests in the operation that amounted to 41 charges.

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Three Bradenton residents are among 16 arrested in a Sarasota retail theft operation and picked up additional child neglect charges for bringing their children along for the crimes. Provided Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

“These retail operations are part of our intelligence-led policing model,” Sheriff Tom Knight said in a prepared statement. “Based on crime analysis, we can look at hot spots and deploy resources during these maintenance-type initiatives.

“Our goal was to no only assist local businesses, but also to send a message to criminals that retail crime will not be tolerated in this community.”

Also arrested in the operation:

  • Amanda Pepi, of North Port, one count of petit theft.
  • Sylvester Bruggerman, of Sarasota, one count of petit theft.
  • Ashley De Fouw, of Sarasota, one count of petit theft.
  • Erin Mahoney, of Venice, petit theft, possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
  • Amanda Wessel, of Venice, two counts of violation of probation.
  • Richard Deemer, of Venice, possession of marijuana and driving while license suspended.
  • Sean Vickers, of Clearwater, driving while license suspended.
  • Cecelia Slicker, of Venice, petit theft.
  • Philip Lagana, of Sarasota, petit theft, possession of cocaine and drug parahernalia.
  • William Gates, of Weeki Wachee, grand theft, drivind while license suspended and felon in possession of a concealed weapon.
  • Gary Gwinn, of Gulfport, two counts of drug possession, three counts of unlawful possession of personal identification, grand theft and one count of providing false identification.
  • Matthew Gwinn, of Gulfport, grand theft.
  • Jesse Greene, of Sarasota, petit theft and resisting retail merchant.
Breaking News/Real Time Reporter Mark Young began his career in 1996 and has been with the Bradenton Herald since 2014. He has won more than a dozen awards over the years, including the coveted Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Press Club and for beat reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists to name a few. His reporting experience is as diverse as the communities he covers.
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