Two men who had a combined total of 28 charges on multiple outstanding arrest warrants from Orange County, Florida, were arrested near Polk City after they were seen by Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives who were learning surveillance techniques during in-field training.
While participating in field training in the Polk City area, a Polk County Sheriff’s Office detective observed a suspicious vehicle in the parking area for the Van Fleet trail. The suspect vehicle, a silver Cadillac with dark tinted windows and a temporary tag matched a description of a vehicle connected to “Felony Lane/Smash ‘n Grab” suspects. The surveilling deputies called other patrol deputies in the area and they conducted a traffic stop on the Cadillac after it left the park.
"Felony Lane/Smash 'n Grab" refers to a group of suspects who seek areas where women are known to leave their purses in parked cars, such as schools, daycares, parks, gyms, and churches. The suspects, usually using a rental car with dark temporary tint on the windows, pull up next to a victim's car, punch a hole in the window, and steal purses and other items of value. The entire crime usually takes less than 60 seconds. The male suspects then give the stolen driver's licenses to female accomplices who use wigs and disguises to take stolen checks to the farthest lane at a bank drive-through (hence the phrase "felony lane"), and cash the checks. They typically also fill up their cars with gasoline using stolen credit cards and make other fraudulent purchases.
A traffic stop was made on the suspicious vehicle and the occupants were identified as Javon Hines, DOB, 6/1/89, 1200 NW 22nd Place in Miami, and Simmie Dinkins, DOB, 1/26/89, 1885 NW 55th Sreet in Miami. Both men’s licenses indicate they are from Miami, but Dinkins told deputies he is now living in Orlando. They claimed they were in the area to meet some women in Lakeland and they said they were in the park smoking a “blunt.”
Hines was placed under arrest for outstanding Orange County warrants for Conveyance Burglary, Grant Theft, Aggravated Assault with a Motor Vehicle, and Criminal Mischief.
Dinkins was placed under arrest for outstanding Orange County warrants for Criminal Use of Person Identification (21 counts), Conspiracy to commit criminal use of ID (2 counts), and Organized Fraud (1 count).
The Cadillac was originally seen parked next to a white Subaru Outback with a woman’s purse and GPS in plain view. It is believed the suspects may have been targeting the property inside the Subaru. A screw driver was also located in the back seat area of the Cadillac where Hines was sitting.
"These guys had a bad day. They were probably looking for a few easy thefts, but they found our deputies surveilling a parking lot instead. Fortunately, we probably prevented a number of crimes, and put bad guys in jail who have a combined total of 28 charges on Warrants from Orange County. We will gladly give them a free ride to the Orange County Jail, after their stay in the Polk County Jail. We remind residents and visitors not to provide these suspects an opportunity to break the law. The first line of defense against Felony Lane/Smash 'n Grab* crime is to educate the public NOT to leave valuables in their cars, and to report any suspicious activity.” - Sheriff Grady Judd
The investigation is on-going.