On Saturday, two men were arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and charged with multiple counts of burglary. The two suspects allegedly committed burglaries in several counties, including at least nine (9) in Columbia County.
On August 25, 2012, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw a white Dodge Stratus, allegedly driven by John Francis Thomas, run a stop sign on Southeast 100th Avenue. Thomas also was not wearing a seat belt.
The deputy tried to stop the Dodge, but Thomas kept driving. The deputy used a PIT maneuver and stopped the car. Thomas got out and ran away. Passenger Robert Duke “RJ” Walker, 19, remained in the car.
A Marion County Sheriff’s Office K-9 deputy eventually caught Thomas, biting him on the left leg. Thomas was taken into custody without further incident.
At the scene Saturday, deputies found a large amount of jewelry believed to have been stolen from the burglaries.
Detectives said there are several burglaries in Marion, Sumter, Columbia, Volusia, Lake and Alachua counties in which the mode of operation — kicking in doors — and description of a vehicle match this case.
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office detectives are confident that Thomas and Walker are responsible for the nine burglaries in southern Columbia County. The residential burglaries have been occurring over the past two weeks. CCSO detectives are working closely with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to recover any stolen property. Detectives will be charging Thomas and Walker with multiple counts of burglary and theft.
Both suspects are being held in the Marion County Jail. Additional charges are likely for Thomas and Walker as several North Florida law enforcement agencies are still actively investigating similar burglaries.
John Francis Thomas, 6/30/1965
2060 SE 172nd Terrace, Silver Springs, FL
Robert Duke Walker, 7/01/1993
2040 SE 172nd Terrace, Silver Springs, FL