In scenes reminiscent of recent shoplifting assaults on businesses in San Francisco and other large cities, a band of alleged crooks from St. Petersburg descended on two Family Dollar stores here in Hernando County and filled garbage bags with shoplifted merchandise before fleeing. Whether motivated by rampant inflation, the defund police movement or opportunistic thievery, these alleged crooks were apprehended thanks to a concerned citizen who followed the three males long enough to give police an accurate description of their get-away car.
Deputies from the Hernando Sheriff’s Office got the first 9-1-1 call around 2 p.m. Saturday when the caller said two individuals had just fled the store located at 10620 Northcliffe Boulevard in Spring Hill carrying two white plastic garbage bags full of stolen merchandise. A store clerk pursued the alleged thieves causing one of the suspects to drop a bag of stolen merchandise as the pair fled. Deputies watched store video of the incident however no arrests were made at that time. The footage showed two males wearing ski masks and baseball caps to hide their identities.
Less than one hour later, at approximately 2:45 p.m. the Sheriff’s office received another call from the Dollar General Store located at 865 S. Broad Street regarding a retail theft in progress. Deputies were able to determine that these accomplices were the same individuals who had stolen from the other Family Dollar store. Once again, the suspects fled the store “carrying white garbage bags full of various stolen merchandise.”
Unlike the first time, a witness followed the suspects as they fled the store in a 2020 Nissan Altima that contained the garbage bags of pilfered merchandise. The witness was able to provide a description of the vehicle and direction of travel to 9-1-1 operators which enabled Hernando Deputies to locate and conduct a traffic stop on the suspects’ vehicle at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Hurban Street in Masaryktown. Three men in the suspect vehicle were arrested and taken into custody after officers discovered eight garbage bags filled with various stolen merchandise and a canvas bag containing 4.7 grams of marijuana that was divided into 16 separate baggies in the vehicle.
The suspects were identified as Johnny King III DOB/09-17-1999, Antone Jones Jr. DOB/10-13-1999, and Alex A. Street DOB/05-26-1999. According to the Sheriff’s Office the suspects drove to Hernando County from the St. Petersburg area. One of the suspects, Street, advised investigators the men visited numerous stores throughout the area where King and Jones stole various merchandise. Street advised he always remained in the vehicle and did not participate in the thefts. King was also identified as a suspect in a recent theft from Ulta Beauty. He was also charged in connection with that investigation.
The suspects were charged as follows: Johnny King III was charged with Grand Theft and two counts of Petit Theft. His bond was set at $15,000. Antone Jones Jr. was charged with two counts of Petit Theft, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Equipment. His bond was set at $5,000. Alex Street was charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell and Possession of Drug Equipment. His bond was set at $3,000. King and Jones could face additional theft charges for involvement in ongoing investigations.