Busted St. Pete burglary leads to police chase - FOX 13 News

Busted St. Pete burglary leads to police chase

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

A police chase in St. Petersburg ended in a giant crash.  It all got started with reports of a burglary.

Someone saw a group of men stealing TV's from a home, but then police say the suspects tried to ram their cruiser and the chase was on.

It started near 40th Ave. North and Haines Road.  The chase went through 9th Avenue North and Martin Luther King Jr. Street, where it came to a crashing end.

The suspects ran a red light and smashed into two cars.  They hit at least one other car before that.  We're told no one was seriously injured.

The suspects tried to run, but police quickly caught up to them.  They're accused of trying to break into a neighborhood that hasn't seen much crime until lately, so people in that area must be glad to see the chase was a success. 

However, it could have gone much differently.

"Suddenly I heard (the) boom, you know. And I saw the smoke from there, and Oh my God," said witness Mirta Sarmiento.

Crunched cars, broken bumpers and skid marks were left in the road from the crash born from a high-speed police chase.

"It had to be at least 60. Just from right there," said witness Stephen Paukstye.

Police said the driver of a white Honda maxed out at 70 as police followed.

"It just swerved to the right and to the left, and I was just like oh crap," Paukstye said.

The suspects tried to break into two different homes, and they were successful getting in to one.

A neighbor happened to see them trying to get in the Allendale neighborhood.  That neighbor called police with a description of the vehicle.

When police saw that car, the chase began.

"It was scary for me," Sarmiento said.

Four cars of innocent bystanders were hit.  When people saw the damage, it was difficult for some to believe no one was seriously hurt.

That wasn't the case two weeks ago when a chase that started in Gulfport ended in St. Pete, with the suspect crashing into a bus. 

Several were treated by paramedics. So when is it safe for police to issue a chase?

"The very first thing the officer has to do is make his supervisor aware that he's in pursuit," explained St. Pete Police spokesperson Michael Puetz. "He's going to give some details to the supervisor regarding the nature of the pursuit. The speeds, direction of travel, traffic conditions so the supervisor can make some evaluations whether to authorize the pursuit."

That happened before the chase.

One reason for the go-ahead was the urgency of the burglaries and the possible felony charges. 

Police said the chase appears to be by the book.

"This gets discussed every time we have one of these situations take place," Puetz said. "All I can tell you is based on the initial information we have at this point this pursuit does follow our policy,"

Police will evaluate the details of this case, as always. The young men face quite a few charges and could have faced worse if someone had been hurt.

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