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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 4/26/2017 

 PCSO deputies arrest adult and two juveniles after a rash of car burglaries in Lakeland 


Thanks to an alert citizen who spotted his friend's stolen truck in a Circle K parking lot and called law enforcement, PCSO deputies with the assistance of Lakeland P.D. officers arrested an adult male and two juveniles one day after a rash of car burglaries that happened during the early morning hours of Monday, April 24, 2017. All three suspects also fled from law enforcement. 

The following are excerpts from the affidavits, and are self-explanatory:

NATHANIEL STEWART:

On 4/25/17, the suspect, Nathaniel Stewart, DOB 4/14/1998, along with co-defendants [juvenile female born in 2000] and Dakota Freeman, DOB 12/2/1999, was observed by the witness exiting what he knew to be a stolen truck (a 2004 Green Ford F-250 bearing Florida tag #6030UP) that belong to the victim, Dylan Haire. 

The witness followed  the stolen truck on foot and observed it park at the Circle K  located at 1705 Bartow Rd in Lakeland. The witness stated he observed all the suspects go inside the store so he approached the vehicle while calling law enforcement. The witness stated the suspects saw he was inquiring about the vehicle, and one male - who was seen driving the stolen F-250 and determined to be Dustin Freeman - exited the store and entered a Blue Dodge truck that was already in the parking lot and the vehicle fled southbound on Highway 98. The other two suspects, determined to be [juvenile female] and Stewart, exited the store and ran towards the rear of the store and continued east on foot.  

[Juvenile female] and Stewart fled into a residence located on Mockingbird Lane in the city of Lakeland. Responding units located the juvenile, and the witness positively identified her as the female who exited the vehicle at the Circle K. Following an additional search of the residence, Stewart was found attempting to conceal himself under the female's bed, and actively resisted arrest.

Stewart admitted to sitting in the passenger seat  in the recovered stolen vehicle.  During a search of the vehicle, deputies recovered a tightly rolled cannabis cigar. Post-Miranda, the suspect confessed to passing the cannabis cigar between him and his girlfriend (the juvenile female) while they smoked it together.

Stewart was asked about multiple burglaries occurring overnight between 04/23/2017 and early morning on 04/24/2017. He stated that he was recently shown a black handgun by the driver Dustin Freeman earlier in the day, and even held it stating it would only have his prints on it due to holding it but he never stole a gun. 

[Juvenile female] also stated that the driver of the vehicle was Dakota Freeman, and confirmed him via the surveillance footage obtained within the Circle K. She stated that she did not know the vehicle was stolen until Freeman told her and Stewart in the store when someone mentioned someone was looking at the truck in the parking lot. She stated she went home with her boyfriend (Stewart) after learning the vehicle was stolen. She stated she did not want her boyfriend to get in trouble for something he had nothing to do so she allowed him to hide in her room under her bed.  

An address was located for Freeman - 1836 Crystal Lake Drive North, Lakeland - and he was located, positively identified from the Circle K surveillance footage, and placed under arrest. Freeman stated that he saw his friends at the store and got a ride in a Blue Dodge truck. 

Freeman was wearing black Nike slides with white Nike emblems, and after further review, appeared to the same suspect wearing that footwear, as well as the same hair style, as the suspect captured on video surveillance where numerous conveyance burglaries had taken place and suspects walking the neighborhood checking  car door handles. When confronted with the allegations regarding the stolen vehicle and burglaries, Freeman stated that he wasn't speaking and he would only be "getting a program if we could get him convicted anyway." 

Between the night time hours of 04/23/2017 and 04/24/2017, a total of 17 conveyance burglaries were committed on the following streets: Cross Creek Blvd, Welsch Way, Oakpoint Drive, Palm View Drive, Kinsley Drive, Magnolia Avenue, Feather Drive, Champion Ridge Drive.

Probable cause exists charging Stewart with 15 counts of burglary (F-3), grand theft of a motor vehicle (F-3), possession of cannabis (M-1), possession of drug paraphernalia (M-1), resisting arrest (M-1), and violation of probation (he was placed on probation in August 2016 for burglary and dealing in stolen property) (M-2).

Stewart's criminal history includes arrests for possession of a weapon by a juvenile, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, simple assault, resisting arrest, grand theft, burglary, petit theft, property damage, FTA, and VOP. 

DAKOTA FREEMAN:

The suspect, Dakota Freeman along with co-defendants [juvenile female] and Nathaniel Stewart, 

was observed by the witness exiting what he knew to be a stolen truck (a 2004 Green Ford F-250 bearing Florida tag #6030UP) that belong to the victim, Dylan Haire.  

The witness followed  the stolen truck on foot and observed it park at the Circle K  located at 1705 Bartow Rd in Lakeland. The witness stated he observed all the suspects go inside the store so he approached the vehicle while calling law enforcement. The witness stated the suspects saw he was inquiring about the vehicle, and one male - who was seen driving the stolen F-250 and determined to be Dustin Freeman - exited the store and entered a Blue Dodge truck that was already in the parking lot and the vehicle fled southbound on Highway 98. The other two suspects, determined to be [juvenile female] and Stewart, exited the store and ran towards the rear of the store and continued east on foot. 

Probable cause exists charging Freeman with 15 counts of burglary (F-3), grand theft of a motor vehicle (F-3), grand theft (F-3), and violation of probation (he was placed on probation in December 2016 for burglary and grand theft auto) (M-2).

(The rest of Freeman's affidavit reads the same as Stewart's.) 

Freeman's criminal history includes prior arrests for robbery, armed carjacking, burglary, grand theft, grand theft of motor vehicle, disorderly conduct, petit theft, criminal mischief, battery on detention employee, FTA, and VOP.  

JUVENILE FEMALE SUSPECT: 

On 04/25/2017 the suspect, a 17-year-old female, actively resisted arrest by pulling and attempting to free herself from my grasp while being restrained in hand restraints. The suspect was being detained after locating Nathaniel Stewart, her boyfriend, who was concealing himself under the suspect's bed. The suspect committed these acts in violation of F.S.S. 843.02..

The suspect was determined to be sitting as the passenger in the recovered stolen vehicle, a 2004 Green Ford F-250 bearing Florida tag #6030UP. Deputies searched the truck and recovered a tightly rolled cannabis cigar. Post-Miranda the suspect confessed to passing the cannabis cigar between her and her boyfriend, smoking it.

The suspect was charged with resisting without violence (M-1), possession of cannabis (M-1), and possession of drug paraphernalia (M-1). The suspect was transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center without incident. 

"There are two points we want to make about these arrests - we are constantly telling the public, when you see something, say something. We want to commend this alert citizen who saw something, and said something. Without him, we would not have captured these suspects so quickly. Our other point is this - juveniles who are 'given a program' instead of being held accountable for their crimes, end up continuing to live lives of crime and victimizing multiple people, as evidenced by Nathaniel Stewart and Dakota Freeman, who bragged about being diverted to a program upon his arrest." - Grady Judd, Sheriff