Crime

A theft of ‘slides’ ends in chase, a K9 bite and a foot in the face, cops say

It’s probably never a good thing when a Manatee County deputy is writing an arrest report and states the suspect “is known to me from previous law enforcement related issues.”

Indeed, James Mitchell, 31, has a lengthy criminal history but he picked up a few more felony charges on Oct. 4 when he stole a pair of sandals from Burlington Coat Factory and then led police on a chase that ended with Mitchell struggling with a police dog, according to the arrest report.

Deputies say Mitchell was caught stealing the merchandise by the store’s loss prevention officer, but when deputies arrived to have him trespassed he “immediately took off on his bike.”

Deputies gave chase, but Mitchell lost them a couple of times before he was spotted later on 14th Street West, south of 30th Avenue just after 7 p.m., according to the report. Deputies say they gave chase again after Mitchell refused to stop and almost caused an accident as he raced across the street on the bike.

A K9 unit responded to track Mitchell after he abandoned his bike and ran off. The K9 located and engaged Mitchell while he was hiding under a nearby trailer, deputies say.

According to the report, the K9 had a secure hold of Mitchell’s arm, but he was punching the dog with his free hand and resisted attempts to be pulled out from underneath the trailer.

Deputies say they were able to get Mitchell far enough out as he continued to hit the K9 and, “I struck him in the hand and mouth with my foot,” the report states.

According to the report, after being handcuffed, Mitchell yelled, “All this for a pair of slides?”

Mitchell was booked into the Manatee County jail on charges of felony fleeing to elude and felony resisting arrest with violence, among other charges and remains in custody.

According to jail records, Mitchell’s criminal history in Manatee County dates back to 2003. His prior charges include multiple arrests for dealing in stolen property, defrauding a pawn broker, criminal mischief and battery.

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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