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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wilder, Scott

Director of Communications 
News Date: 1/3/2012 

 Deputies interrupt copper thieves at Progress Energy Station 


At approximately 11:40 p.m. last night, January 2, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies working in the northwest district interrupted a burglary in progress that was occurring at a Progress Energy Substation in North Lakeland.  Three Tampa men were arrested—they were in the process of stealing copper wire.

 As deputies announced their presence, one man, 36-year-old Robert G. Schlooser Jr. of 6924 Delano Ave., Tampa, gave up.  Two others, 40-year-old Earl Junior McDougald of 6246 Astoria Drive, #30, Tampa, and 28-year-old Joseph C. Flowers of 6012 E. Broadway Ave, #15, Tampa, fled on foot, leading deputies on an approximately 1 ½ mile chase through woods and swamp.  Unfortunately for the two thieves, but fortunately for community, the Sheriff’s Office helicopter kept them under constant surveillance as they fled and they were closely followed by K-9 Kony and handler Deputy Sheriff Kurt Walker.  At the end of the chase, the two gave up on their knees with their hands in the air, when they were warned that the K-9 would be released to apprehend them. 

“Our deputies did an outstanding job catching these men in the act of stealing copper wire.  The two who ran were not as smart as their thief partner who gave up at the start.  They did not get away—they just ended up tired, wet, and caught.”  --Sheriff Grady Judd 

The three had caused extensive damage to the facility (approximately $15,000) by cutting a hole in the security barbed wire fence and disconnecting and ripping out approximately a ¼ mile of copper wire.

The three are still in jail as of 2:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, January 3, 2012.  They and their charges are: 

Robert G. Schlooser Jr., 6924 Delano Ave., Tampa, FL  33619, DOB: 3/23/1975

BURGL-DWELLING OR STRUCT CAUSE DAMAGE OVER 1000 DOLS; LARC-COMMIT GRAND THEFT DAMAGE OVER 1000 DOLS; BURGL TOOLS-POSSESS-WITH INTENT TO USE ; DAMAGE PROP-CRIM MISCH-1000 DOLS OR MORE  

Joseph C. Flowers, 6012 E. Broadway Ave, #15, Tampa, FL 33619, DOB: 1/14/1983

BURGL-DWELLING OR STRUCT CAUSE DAMAGE OVER 1000 DOLS ; LARC-COMMIT GRAND THEFT DAMAGE OVER 1000 DOLS; BURGL TOOLS-POSSESS-WITH INTENT TO USE ; DAMAGE PROP-CRIM MISCH-1000 DOLS OR MORE; RESIST OFFICER-OBSTRUCT WO VIOLENCE; PROB VIOLATION (two counts)

Earl Junior McDougald, 6246 Astoria Drive, #30, Tampa, FL 33619, DOB: 1/5/1971

BURGL-DWELLING OR STRUCT CAUSE DAMAGE OVER 1000 DOLS; LARC-COMMIT GRAND THEFT DAMAGE OVER 1000 DOLS; BURGL TOOLS-POSSESS-WITH INTENT TO USE; DAMAGE PROP-CRIM MISCH-1000 DOLS OR MORE; RESIST OFFICER-OBSTRUCT WO VIOLENCE