Jacksonville, FL - Local law enforcement is searching for two people believed to be involved in multiple vehicle thefts and at least 24 car burglaries in Northeast Florida. The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says two suspects were arrested on Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon.
Deputies attempted to pull over a Dodge Journey in the Vilano area Tuesday evening. It was quickly discovered this vehicle was reported stolen out of Clay County.
Deputies said the driver refused to pull over and drove across the Vilano Bridge. Stop sticks forced the vehicle to come to a stop. Deputies said four people jumped out of the SUV and ran. They witnessed one of the occupants throwing a handgun off of the bridge. Several other firearms were found in the vehicle.
One suspect was arrested near the stolen SUV, 18-year-old Aneudy Gutierrez. He was initially held on loitering charges. On Wednesday afternoon, deputies arrested a second suspect, 18-year-old Josiah Martinez. Both are now charged with 24 counts of armed burglary to a conveyance and two counts of firearm theft.
Within 12 hours of their arrest, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said dispatch received several calls of car burglaries in the Southeast district. Investigators linked two stolen firearms found in the stolen SUV to this neighborhood.
"I'm pretty surprised," St. Johns County resident Devona Coch said. "I guess I'm going to start locking it up a little bit more often."
Deputies believe the remaining two suspects stole a 2004 Ford Excursion to flee town. They said the Excursion was last spotted in Duval County.
They are asking the community to remove any valuables from their vehicles, especially firearms.
"Just take extra precaution and lock up," Coch said. "Don't trust that it's a good neighborhood because you never know when it's going to happen or where it's going to happen."