BROOKSVILLE (FOX 13) - A group of kids, ranging in ages from 12 to 18, face a series of charges after what investigators described Friday as a birthday crime spree in Brooksville.
Deputies say the young suspects stole some pricey vehicles from a dealership. But what gave them away was a bicycle and tricycle the suspects left behind.
Hernando County deputies said it started during a 14-year-old's birthday celebration with two friends and a sibling on Thursday. The birthday girl's 12-year-old brother, a 15-year-old, and 18-year-old Adriana Valle apparently decided to break into the Register Chevrolet dealership on Cortez Boulevard as part of the celebration, deputies say.
Detectives said the group went in through a service garage, grabbed keys to some vehicles, and stole three vehicles - two Silverado trucks worth $72,000 and $40,000 and an Equinox worth $32,000.
Deputies said the kids used the $72,000, 2017 Silverado to ram the business's gate. Investigators think the 12-year-old was driving, but they're not sure who was driving the other vehicles.
One of the trucks was found in a bank parking lot a block away. Another was ditched on a dirt road about a mile away. The Silverado was still on the dealership's property.
Deputies were called to the dealership the next morning and quickly discovered two big clues the young suspects left behind.
"They had left a tricycle and a bicycle behind at the dealership and when the detectives got on scene they recognized those bicycles and had a pretty good idea where to go to find the suspects," Moloney said, adding the kids have been in trouble in the past.
Investigators told FOX 13 the siblings live in the Brookridge community next to the Chevy dealership and that's where they found the suspects.
Investigators said the younger criminals also stole televisions out of some RV's across the street from the dealership.
"It's definitely not the way to celebrate your birthday when you're 12 years old and 14 years old," said Denise Moloney, a sheriff's office spokesperson. "They should have probably been having a birthday party with a birthday cake, not out stealing cars. Somebody could have been killed."
The entire group is facing serious charges, topped off with Grand Theft Auto exceeding $100,000. Valle is in the Hernando County jail. The three younger suspects were taken to the juvenile detention center.