BROOKSVILLE (FOX 13) - Citrus County deputies may have busted a major car theft ring that targeted dealerships in several counties in the Bay Area. They believe nearly a dozen dealerships were hit by six suspects, several of them only in their teens.
Investigators said the suspects broke several windows at Chrysler Dodge Brooksville early Tuesday. They took some keys and then used a stolen Jeep Renegade to ram a gate there.
Deputies in the area spotted them, but had to pull back as the high speed chase became dangerous.
The suspects thought they had gotten away, but just about 24-hours later, their sticky fingers couldn't stay away from another car dealership in Inverness.
This time, units happened to be near the dealership when the thieves set off an alarm. Deputies chased them and, this time, arrested all six suspects.
Chrysler Dodge Brooksville employee Bob Kleiner showed FOX 13 News the aftermath of that Jeep Renegade smashing through a gate under the cover of darkness early Tuesday.
“I was impressed with the Renegade. It hardly had any damage,” Kleiner explained."They did two checks after midnight - two and four - and the reason that they got spotted was a sheriff's deputy was doing a traffic stop right out in front of the store, and he saw the movement in the service drive and came charging in on them. And that's when the chase ensued.”
The same group was caught on surveillance video during a heist at a dealership in Davenport. They’re also suspected in the burglary of a Sprint store in Winter Haven.
After making the arrests, deputies said they found two cars linked to thefts from car dealerships in Polk and Hernando counties.
It's unclear just how many cars the ring has stolen, or what they've been doing with them. Now the only place they'll be breaking in is a new jail cell.
The suspects, three of which are minors, were being held in the Citrus County Jail.
Jatawn Barkley, 19, faces four felonies and two misdemeanor charges. Cameron Williams, 18, faces four felonies and three misdemeanor charges. Roger Linton Clinton Jones Jr., 22, faces four felonies and three misdemeanor charges.
They are all from the Orlando area.