Two Jacksonville teens are in custody today following a nighttime crime spree that began in Clay County — and began to unravel at Vilano Beach.
Last night, St Augustine police officers located a stolen Dodge Journey reported by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and they attempted a traffic stop. The vehicle fled the city limits and traveled across the Vilano Beach bridge until police deployed stop sticks and four suspects ran from the vehicle.
“Approximately twenty cars were burglarized in the Southeast District and thus far, no signs of forced entry were discovered to any of them,” a sheriff’s spokesman reported this morning.
By this evening, that toll had increased to a total of 24 cars, plus the stolen SUV; and, the cache of stolen property grew to include two firearms that were stolen out of the burglarized vehicles. The handgun taken from one of the burglaries was recovered by police; apparently thrown from the vehicle during the pursuit. A stolen AR15-style rifle was located inside the Dodge Journey.
In addition to one passenger captured last night when the stolen SUV was stopped, deputies located another suspect this afternoon. Two more suspects who fled have not been located. So far, 18-year-old Aneudy Ramon Gutierrez, whose address was reported to be 7231 Oakwood Drive in Jacksonville and 18-year-old Josiah Luis Martinez, whose address was reported to be 1755 Hilltop in Jacksonville, are charged with 24-counts each of armed burglary to a conveyance and 2-counts each of firearm theft.
A 2004 Ford Excursion, which had been left unlocked with the keys in the center console, was also reported stolen about the time of the incident and subsequent search. Detectives believe the still-missing thieves may have made it to that vehicle and stolen it to make good their escape. The investigation is ongoing.