Law enforcement agencies team up to track down robbery suspects
On Thursday, Dec. 4, at approximately 8:53 p.m., deputies with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to Mayor’s Jewelry at the Bell Tower Shops, 13499 South Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers. Multiple calls were received about an armed robbery. Descriptions of the suspects and a vehicle were provided and relayed to the arriving units.
Deputies spotted the suspect vehicle as it left the shopping area and turned east on Daniels Parkway. The vehicle did not pull over as it sped toward Interstate 75 and out of sight.
Additional calls from motorists about a black car operating without headlights were received and a deputy spotted the suspect vehicle on I-75, near Colonial Boulevard. By the time the suspects reached the Luckett Road interchange, the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit had arrived and observers monitored the pursuit as it continued north, crossing Charlotte and Sarasota county lines.
According to law enforcement officials, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and North Port Police Department provided assistance as the pursuit continued northward. The car left the roadway near mile marker 183 in North Port, coming to rest in the trees and brush at the east side of roadway. The four occupants ran away from the vehicle. The car caught on fire, but was soon extinguished.
Meanwhile, the airborne deputies were able to assist ground units, including K-9s, in the search and capture of the fleeing felons. During one of the apprehensions, a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy was involved in a shooting incident. As a result, one of the suspects sustained gunshot wounds requiring medical treatment. The suspect was airlifted to a bay area hospital for treatment. He is reported in stable condition, officials said.
It’s anticipated the other three suspects will be transported to the Sarasota County Jail to await transfer back to Lee County on charges related to the robbery and subsequent events. The North Port Police Department, with the assistance of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, is investigating the shooting incident, while the Florida Highway Patrol is documenting the vehicle crash. Detectives with the Lee County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit are continuing the investigation into the jewelry store robbery.
As is standard procedure, the deputy involved in the shooting is placed on administrative leave pending completion and review of the investigation. No injuries occurred during the robbery. Two employees were in the store at the time of the incident. The suspects were reportedly armed with firearms during the commission of the crime and left the scene with jewelry. The names of the suspects are still being confirmed at this time.