Hernando County residents are once again being reminded to lock their cars anytime they are unattended after the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) arrested a group of teens accused of breaking into unlocked cars throughout the county and stealing items from credit cards, handbags, and even firearms from them.
According to Public Relations Manager Denise Moloney, the HCSO began investigating the incidents in February and March when the agency noticed that it had received 158 reports of car burglaries during those early months of 2023.
Early investigations revealed that most of the burglaries were the work of a small group of suspects who worked together and stole personal items, including cash, coins, handbags, firearms, and other personal items from unlocked vehicles. During the investigation, detectives worked with HCSO crime analysis personnel, who began to track patterns, including specific areas where the burglaries were taking place and when.
As a result, detectives identified and arrested eight young men who face a total of 150 criminal charges, including grand theft auto and burglary of a conveyance. “Most of the suspects did not live in Hernando County and traveled to the area only to commit crimes,” Moloney said. “Many of the crimes were committed while the suspects were armed.”
As a result, Joe Bailey Jr., 17; Furious Gilmore, 17; Larry Williams, 19; Quantez Powell, 20; Jashon Ford, 19; Jhaquay Jackson, 16, Leon Hardrick, 17, and 14-year-old Sanjay Green were all arrested and charged in connection with the burglaries. Following the investigation, the HCSO was able to return a number of the stolen items, including a firearm that had been stolen in St. Petersburg in November 2022.
The investigation into the incidents remains ongoing. Meanwhile, detectives are reminding Hernando County residents to lock their vehicles and to remove all valuables and personal items, including firearms, before doing it.