LANCASTER – Three male theft suspects were taken into custody late Monday morning after fleeing and being located the Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS), authorities said.
The alleged theft happened shortly before 11:34 a.m. Monday at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, located at 44665 Valley Central Way in Lancaster, according to Sergeant Robbie Royster.
The following is the press release from the Lancaster Sheriff Station:
Anthony Blake (20 years old) and two juveniles entered the Wal-Mart Supercenter, and proceeded to fill a shopping cart full of items, and exited the garden center entrance. Once outside of the store, Blake and one of the juveniles began pushing the cart full of stolen property around the north side of the building, while the second juvenile separated and left towards the south side of the complex.
Wal-Mart loss prevention officers attempted to detain Blake and the juvenile near the automotive area, when Blake simulated having a firearm behind his back and threatened to assault the loss prevention officer.
The loss prevention officer dialed 911 and watched as Blake and the juvenile attempted to push the cart of merchandise out of the parking lot. The shopping cart’s wheels locked once crossing the perimeter line, and Blake and the juvenile abandoned it and fled into the neighborhood west of the shopping center.
Deputy Jared Fletcher, assigned to the LEAPS program, began scanning the neighborhood via the video console. While scanning the neighborhood directly west of the shopping center, he observed the three suspects had regrouped and were running northbound Tarragon Drive through residents’ front yards.
Deputy Fletcher coordinated responding units to the suspects. One of the juveniles was detained, while Blake and the other juvenile fled into the backyard of one of the homes. Deputy Fletcher used the LEAPS program to watch as the suspects exited the neighborhood through a wash basin and began running Westbound Avenue J from 25th Street West. They traveled south across Avenue J, almost causing a traffic collision, and ran into another neighborhood south of Avenue J off of MacFarlane Drive.
Deputy Fletcher continually updated responding units of the suspects’ locations, and deputies detained Blake and the remaining juvenile on MacFarlane Drive.
The juvenile immediately surrendered to deputies, while Blake continued running southbound into residences’ back yards. At one point, Blake positioned himself in the side yard of a home located in between 25th Street West and Lively Avenue.
Blake continued to run between two sheds in the side yard attempting to hide from ground units containing the location. His attempt to hide from ground units proved unsuccessful, as Deputy Fletcher continually monitored him from the LEAPS console and guided ground units to his exact location. Blake eventually surrendered in the back yard of one of the residences.
Both Blake and the 14-year-old juvenile who threatened the loss prevention officer were booked on charges of robbery. The other 17-year-old juvenile was booked on charges of burglary. All three suspects reside in the Lancaster area. The ongoing investigation is being handled by the Lancaster Station Detective Bureau.
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