Date: June 20, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact: CARRIE RODGERS, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856, PAGER
KIM GARRETT, (863) 534-6377 OR (863) 819-1656, PAGER
Two Juveniles in Custody after Waffle House Robbery

Around 3:45 a.m. on Monday, June 24, 2002, a Waffle House restaurant, located at 44215 U.S. Hwy 27 in Davenport, was robbed by three armed black male suspects.  The suspects entered the restaurant and robbed the cash register and several patrons using the following firearms: a sawed-off, single barrel 12-guage shotgun; a Tech-9 semi-automatic rifle; and a pellet pistol that closely resembles a 38-caliber revolver.  The suspects then fled in a white minivan, which deputies quickly discovered was stolen from a parking lot at the nearby Holiday Inn Express, 43824 U.S. Hwy 27, Davenport. 

A B.O.L.O. (Be On the Look Out) was issued for the suspect vehicle, and a Polk County Sheriff's deputy spotted the vehicle shortly thereafter, driving westbound on I-4.  The deputy followed the minivan, determined that it was the stolen vehicle in question, and communicated his findings to other deputies.  The deputy then turned on his lights and siren near S.R. 33 but the suspects refused to stop.  Deputies had placed Stop-sticks across I-4 near the US Hwy 98 North overpass in anticipation of the approaching vehicle. 
Shortly after 4:00 a.m., the suspect vehicle ran over the Stop-sticks and swerved into the grass median.  The vehicle then fishtailed back onto the highway and crashed into a T.G. Lee Milk tractor-trailer, puncturing one of the truck's fuel tanks.  The minivan rolled over, and the suspects attempted to flee from the wreckage.  Two of the four occupants of the minivan were apprehended. 

Preliminary investigation reveals that the suspects arrived in Polk County in a stolen vehicle from Plant City.  They abandoned that vehicle and stole the white minivan from the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express shortly before committing the robberies.

Some of the U.S. currency that was stolen and the three weapons used in the robberies have been recovered.  The two juvenile suspects in custody at this time are: Benjamin Clark, 3/10/85, from Plant City; and Eddie Light, 9/11/88, of 1804 Beathune Drive, Plant City. 

Clark and Light have each been charged with 5 counts Armed Robbery, 1 count Armed Burglary, 1 count Grand Theft Auto, and 1 count Aggravated Fleeing to Elude.  The two other suspects remain at large, but have been identified and are being sought.  The investigation is ongoing, and detectives anticipate further arrests.

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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