Alert newspaper carrier helps VBPD and IRCSO apprehend 2 burglars.
The Vero Beach Police Department received a 9-1-1 call this morning at 2:48 AM. The call was from the supervisor of a Press Journal newspaper carrier. He was advising that one of his employees had witnessed two males with guns running in the area of A1A and Beachland Boulevard.
Vero Beach Police Department met with her and identified five auto burglaries that occurred in their jurisdiction. They provided a vehicle description. Then they issued a “Be On the Look Out or BOLO” to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
Then they were spotted!
IRCSO Lieutenant Kent Campbell spotted the vehicle near 37th Street and US1. He attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled south on US1. The pursuit ended at the intersection of 12th Road and 6th Avenue near the Rock Ridge subdivision. The 2 suspectswere captured after a short foot chase as they fled from the vehicle. They were identified as Franklin Merritt (21) and Joshua Williams (25). A third as-yet-unidentified suspect also fled the vehicle.
Merritt had numerous warrants from Brevard and Volusia Counties including charges of armed robbery of a dwelling, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and twelve counts of grand theft of a firearm. The vehicle they were driving was reported stolen from the Rockledge area in Brevard County. Two handguns were recovered. Merritt was also charged with felony fleeing to elude, driving on a suspended license, and resisting arrest without violence.
Williams was charged with carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting arrest with violence, and battery on a law enforcement officer.
Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar stated, “Our deputies, along with assistance from the Vero Beach Police Department, took two very dangerous criminals into custody today.
They were both armed. Both men have committed a number of crimes along the Treasure and Space Coast.
” This case is also an excellent example of our motto ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ in action.” The Sheriff’s office said. ” The newspaper carrier made these arrests possible. It is a safer day in Indian River County because of our quality law enforcement efforts and the assistance we received from this tipster.”