The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested two men from Pompano Beach on Monday after connecting them with a smash and grab style vehicle burglary in Venice.
Deputies were first called to 351 Orange Road just after 8:00 a.m., for reports of an auto burglary. According to the victim, when she exited the business, she saw a red four-door Mercedes flee from the parking lot. She also noticed her passenger side window was smashed out and her purse was missing. Officers with the Venice Police Department located the suspect vehicle at the intersection of Lucaya Avenue and Pinebrook Road. Officers pursued the vehicle until sheriff’s office deputies took over and followed the suspect’s car to 1720 South Tamiami Trail, where two men exited the vehicle and fled on foot to a nearby neighborhood. After a short foot chase, deputies apprehended Derrick Phillips, DOB 11/02/83, and Blunt Cooper, DOB 08/18/82. Phillips was found in possession of an iPhone and various other items stolen during the smash and grab burglary.
Through investigation, detectives obtained surveillance video from a nearby business which captured the driver of the red Mercedes head north to the Rodeway Inn hotel after Cooper and Phillips exited the car. Contact was made with hotel management who confirmed that Cooper, Phillips, and three other people rented rooms at the hotel the day prior. While being taken into custody, Phillips gave deputies a false name and was subsequently charged with Providing False Information to Law Enforcement. Both men were also charged with Burglary of a Conveyance and Grand Theft. Phillips remains in custody today on $3,500 bond and Cooper, on $3,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending. Detectives believe these men may be connected to other crimes in the area. Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts is asked to contact the Criminal Investigations Section at 941.861.4900.