Tow truck driver helps nab burglary suspect
Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
A tow truck driver about to tow a suspected burglar's getaway vehicle early Thursday helped police capture the man, who authorities said was trying to steal two flat-screen TVs from an apartment complex.
Gainesville police arrested Roshon Thomas, 25, of 1927 SW 42nd St., after a chase that included Thomas forcing his way into an apartment and being told to leave by the occupant, according to a report.
At around 3:30 a.m., the tow truck driver saw a man later identified as Thomas walking in a breezeway at the Royal Village Apartments at 710 SW Depot Ave. carrying two TVs, one under each arm, police said.
When Thomas saw the driver, he put the televisions down between two vehicles, police said, and walked over to where the driver was about to tow a vehicle, concealed his face with the hood of his sweatshirt and said thanks for not towing the car, the report says. He then got into the car and began driving away.
The tow truck driver saw Officer Thomas Harrison pull up and yelled, "Stop that car. He stole those TVs."
Thomas got out of the car and ran off to the Wood River Apartments in the 900 block of Southwest Depot Avenue, police said. There, he forced his way into one apartment, but the occupant told him to leave. He then ran into another apartment, where an acquaintance let him him, the report said.
Police said they went to that apartment, but Thomas again ran off. He was captured at 5 a.m. by GPD officers and a K-9 officer hiding in the 900 block of Southwest Eighth Lane.
The TVs were stolen from the locked gym area of the complex and were valued at $500 each. Two surveillance cameras in the gym, valued at $500 each, were ruined after being sprayed with black paint, the report says.
Police found a can of black paint in Thomas' car and rubber gloves with black spray paint on them next to the recovered TVs.
Thomas was arrested on charges of burglary, grand theft, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief, resisting arrest without violence and residential burglary.
After being treated for a dog bite, Thomas was taken to the Alachua County jail, where he was being held without bond.