Pinellas County deputies arrest man for driving stolen Lealman Fire District SUV

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A 31-year-old convicted felon, just released from state prison in October, is in trouble with the law again.

Michael James Chick is facing multiple charges, including grand theft auto, after allegedly stealing a Lealman Fire District Vehicle and leading deputies on a short pursuit through Pinellas County.

The incident occurred at approximately 1:15 p.m. Saturday, per a release issued by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say Chick took the bright red Ford SUV from Lealman Fire Department Station 18, located at 4150 66th St. North.

Lealman Fire Captain Larry Thompson said he was tipped off to the theft after someone called the station to say a member of his crew was driving erratically.

“That’s when I looked out and saw it was not where it was supposed to be,” Thompson said.

Deputies were dispatched and soon spotted the vehicle near the intersection of Park St. North and 84th Lane. With assistance from the sheriff office's aerial unit, deputies kept tabs on Chick and the stolen vehicle before they finally caught up with him at a fast food establishment in the 6600 block of Ulmerton Rd.

Chick attempted to run away on foot but was unsuccessful. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on one count of burglary to an occupied structure, one count of fleeing to elude, count of grand theft auto, and one count of operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, Chick has served two stints in state prison for convictions out of Pinellas County for grand theft auto and forgery. 

He is being held without bond.

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