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2 teens ‘wreak havoc’ during Tampa crime spree, police say

By Dylan Abad,


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A teenage boy and girl linked to a spree of crimes across the City of Tampa were arrested Wednesday, officials announced.

According to the Tampa Police Department, the spree began Wednesday around 11 a.m. when a woman eating lunch inside the Portillos Restaurant at 2102 E Fowler Avenue called police to report that another woman had grabbed her purse and ran out of the restaurant.

The victim tried to chase the suspect down but was ultimately unsuccessful. Tampa Police said officers saturated the area but did not find the suspect.

About an hour later, an 82-year-old victim was eating inside a nearby McDonald’s when a woman matching the same description walked into the store with a man. Police said the two snatched the victim’s purse and car keys, then drove off in the victim’s 2022 Toyota Corolla.

Shortly after, police were called to a hit-and-run at the intersection of 20th Street and Waters Avenue where a pedestrian was struck by the stolen Toyota. Authorities said the pedestrian suffered “critical injuries” in the crash.

The Toyota was later discovered wrecked at the intersection of Ruth Place and East Yukon Street.

After discovering the wrecked car, Tampa Police set up a perimeter in the area, engaging Air Service and K-9 Units, along with patrol officers. Soon, the aerial unit spotted the suspects fleeing back into the McDonald’s on Busch Boulevard. The two were taken into custody.

Authorities said the man, who was later identified as a 16-year-old boy, discarded a 9mm gun under a table in the McDonald’s before his arrest. Both he and the female suspect, identified as a 15-year-old girl, were found with marijuana.

The boy faces charges of armed burglary of a conveyance, grand theft auto, possession of cannabis, minor in possession of a firearm, and carrying a concealed firearm.

The girl faces charges of petit theft, burglary of a conveyance, grand theft auto, and possession of cannabis. She also has four outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, possession of a stolen credit card, and petit theft.

“These individuals had no regard for the safety of others during their crime spree, and it’s unfortunate to see teenagers making such poor, life-changing decisions,” said Interim Chief Lee Bercaw. “It took coordinated efforts from multiple areas of our department to quickly find and arrest these individuals. We are thankful that because of these diligent officers, these suspects are no longer able to wreak havoc on our community.”

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