ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — St. Johns County deputies are searching for one shoplifting suspect after arresting three others. The group is accused of stealing goods worth more than $1,000 on Monday from the Nike Factory Store at the St. Augustine Premium Outlets.
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Action News Jax obtained police reports saying that three of the four suspects arrested were involved in a pursuit after the shoplifting incident.
Darrius McCant, John Johnston, and Kenyarta Anderson were all arrested.
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Scott Beaver, director of patrol with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, says it’s a crime of opportunity because these outlets are so close to the highway.
“That’s one of the disadvantages to being off of a major interstate like 95 through our great state of Florida,” says Beaver. “You are in those outlet malls — people are very fast and they know what they are doing,” says Beaver.
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The arrest reports also reveals that the suspects weren’t in the store for long — they took all of the items in less than 10 minutes.
A short time later, they fled from the police in a black car, with McCant behind the wheel.
The chase ended after the car they were driving struck the cruiser of a deputy inside Denny’s parking lot on state Road 16.
Right now, the sheriff’s office is searching for the final suspect involved in this case.
The sheriff’s office says it has a plan to make sure incidents like this don’t happen again.
“Our bike unit will be on bikes in the area through Christmas. We have all kinds of undercover activity going on, marked cars, unmarked cars,” says Beaver.
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According to the police report, two of the three suspects who were taken into custody don’t live in this area.
Both McCant and Anderson live in Orlando. Beaver says in his experience with these cases, this is common.
“These are people who travel up and down the interstate for the sole purpose of hitting these premium outlet malls and stealing this stuff. And probably traveling back to another state or to another county selling it for pennies on the dollar,” says McCant.
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Beaver wants to remind people who work inside the stores and people who are shopping this holiday season to stay vigilant, and if they see something strange, to call law enforcement immediately.