HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - Hillsborough Sheriff's deputies are searching for a woman who broke into several cars and led authorities on a chase Saturday night, but one former deputy is being hailed a hero for tracking down her accomplices.
Investigators have arrested two other men, Lucious Felder and Terry Joseph, in connection to the crimes. Deputies say they broke into six cars and used the victims' credit cards.
Rick Martinez is the coach of the Fish Hawk Under 8 All-Stars. The team is participating in a regional tournament this coming weekend, and during practice yesterday, Russ Wainman, one of the kids' parents, noticed something suspicious.
"I noticed there's a white Chrystler minivan pulled in next to me and I was like he's awfully close. So as I started walking up to the car, I heard a glass break," Wainman said.
A burglar broke into Christine Sosnowski's car and took some of her valuables.
"We had in my pocketbook that I left in the car which I shouldn't have, all our savings were in my wallet and they had taken it," Sosnowski said.
Those savings were from the team's fundraiser to go to the tournament in Alabama. The burglars took off down the road with a couple thousand dollars and merchandise and that's when parents and coaches took action.
"I instinctively jumped into my truck to find this vehicle." Martinez says his law enforcement instincts kicked in. Martinez said, "I called 911. I followed it for a period of time until the sheriff's deputies could finally get involved," Rick Martinez said.
The suspects led sheriff's deputies on a chase through Hillsborough and Pasco Counties. A woman reportedly bailed out of the vehicle. Authorities eventually arrested Joseph and Felder in connection to the crimes.
Felder and Joseph face several charges, including Auto Burglary. If you have any information about these crimes, you can call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (850)247-8200.
The Fish Hawk Under 8 All-Stars leave for their tournament on Wednesday. They play Thursday through Sunday. If you would like to donate to the team to help them get to Alabama, you can call Coach Ricky Martinez at (813) 610-9292.