Manatee County burglary suspects caught in Brandon mall

BRANDON, Fla. - A chase for three burglary suspects Monday led deputies on a 31-mile pursuit from a Manatee County home to Westfield Brandon mall, where the fleeing suspects caused the closure of a Dillard’s department store, deputies said.

All three suspects were arrested, including one whom deputies found hiding in the Dillard’s luggage section after evacuating all the employees, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Their names have not been released.

The chase began about noon after a Manatee County deputy investigated a report of an in-progress burglary in the 3400 block of 68th Street Circle East in Palmetto, deputies said. The deputy saw men leaving the home. They fled in a vehicle when the deputy tried to contact them.

Deputies chased the vehicle east on I-275 and then north on I-75 toward Brandon. As the men tried to exit I-75 on U.S. 60, they slid off the road. The men then ran from the vehicle and into the Dillard’s department store. 

According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the vehicle the men drove was stolen.

Confused and concerned, shoppers didn't expect that scene when they pulled into the mall parking lot.

"I brought my child here because this is our daily thing. We come to the sesame street playground. But it's not a daily thing to come up to 50 cop cars and canines and guns drawn," Rachelle Riles said.

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