“Some criminals just can’t stop committing crimes. These two guys have been arrested over and over, been to prison, and they still won’t obey the law. Who knows how many crimes they’ve committed crimes and have not been caught?—too many, is my guess. This time, I hope they get sent back to prison for a long time.” –Sheriff Grady Judd
A black 2012 Challenger with a sliver racing stripe on the middle and an orange Jeep Wrangler with a black top was stolen from Sorensen Chevrolet (Lake Wales PD case) at approximately 1:30 a.m. early Saturday morning (06/02/12). At around noon on Sunday, June 3rd, a Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputy found the stolen Challenger in the area of Richburg Road and 1st street in Wahneta. The vehicle was occupied by two white males who fled from the area at a high rate of speed. Deputies pursued the stolen Challenger until the driver abandoned it in the area of Cooley Road and 540 in Eagle Lake. There was no crash, damage, or injury as a result of the pursuit. Deputies searched the area using K-9 and aviation, but the suspects were able to get away.
Shortly after deputies departed from the area, a suspicious person call was received by PCSO dispatch regarding a white male who came out of the wooded area nearby wearing only a pair of shorts. Deputies discovered the man was given a ride out of the area in a gold Chevrolet Malibu. Contact was eventually made with female driver of the Malibu (the only occupant) and she said she gave a ride to 27-year-old Joe Edward Phillips (348 Tindel Trail, Lake Wales)—he was dropped off on Pine Street in Wahneta. The driver told deputies that Phillips informed her that he needed a ride out of the area because he had been involved in a crash and there were several people chasing him.
Deputies responded to the area of Pine Avenue and located Phillips. He had numerous small cuts on his legs and arms but was not in need of any medical attention. Phillips confessed to stealing the orange Jeep from Sorensen Chevrolet and identified his co-defendant as 40-year-old John Allen of Winter Haven (509 Clayton Circle). Phillips further stated that Allen was driving the black Challenger earlier in the day when it fled from Sgt. Navarro. Phillips also provided the location of the stolen Jeep. Deputies responded to 3947 Highway 60 East in Connersville and located the orange Jeep.
It was learned that John Allen was released from state prison in February of 2012 after serving 5 years several counts of burglary and grand theft. Allen is also currently on probation for the same charges. Deputies responded to 509 Clayton Circle, Winter Haven and located Allen. Allen was placed under arrest. He confessed that he had recently been inside of both of the stolen vehicles but denied being involved with stealing either one. He also denied that he was driving the Challenger when it fled from deputies earlier in the day. Allen was identified by the initial deputy involved in the pursuit as the person driving the Charger. Allen is charged with Fleeing to Elude, DWLSR, and Resisting Arrest W/O Violence, and Violation of Probation. Both suspects were charged by Lake Wales PD with Grand Theft (Auto).
Allen has an extensive criminal record that includes: 11/06/1989, Shoplifting; 11/24/1992, Assault, Violation of Probation (Forgery), Violation of Probation (Petit Theft); 07/16/1993, Assault (Domestic Violence); 07/06/1997, Burglary, Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny; 09/22/1997, Escape; 06/08/1998, Driving While License Suspended, No Valid Driver’s License; 03/07/1999, Violation of Probation (Escape), Violation of Probation (Grand Theft); 05/11/1999, Violation of Probation (Escape), Violation of Probation (Grand Theft); 01/03/2001, Violation of Probation (Grand Theft), Violation of Probation (Escape), Drugs – Possess – Controlled Substance without Prescription; 05/18/2001, Received into custody State Prison; 04/28/2003, Register as a Convicted Felon; 10/24/2004, Violate Restriction Place on Driver’s License, Drugs – Equip – Possess – And or Use, Drugs – Possess – Controlled Substance without Prescription, Possession of Weapon – or Ammo by Convicted FLA Felon; 03/05/2005, Marijuana – Possess, Drugs – Equip – Possess and or use, False ID Given to LEO, Possession of Weapon or Ammo by Convicted FLA Felon, Grand Larceny of Firearm, Larceny – Theft is 3oo or more but less than 5000; 04/20/2005, Fleeing to Elude, Obstruct without Violence, Burglary, Larceny, Trespassing, Damage Property – Criminal Mischief; 04/29/2005, Grand Theft Vehicle; 05/19/2005, Burglary; 05/25/2005, Burglary (4 counts), Grand Theft, Grand Theft Vehicle, Petit Larceny; 02/07/2012 Released from Hardee County Correctional (Florida State Prison).
Phillips also has an extensive criminal record as a juvenile and as an adult: JV Charges, 07/16/2001, Burglary, Burglary of Structure, Criminal Mischief; JV Charges, 07/19/2001, Grand Larceny; JV Charges, 11/12/2001, Grand Theft – Vehicle, Burglary, Grand Theft, Petit Theft, Possess Stolen Property (Driver License) 2 Counts, Probation Violation; JV Charges, 11/14/2002, Burglary, Grand Theft; (adult charges), 03/10/2004, Drive While License Suspended or Revoked (2 counts); 10/27/2004, Drive While License Suspended or Revoked; 11/15/2004, Drive While License Suspended or Revoked; 05/02/2005, Probation Violation (DWLSR), Possession of Weapon or Ammo by Convicted Felon, Burglary, Grand Theft; 05/06/2005, Grand Theft, Burglary; 08/27/2005, Burglary, Grand Theft; 09/28/2005, sent to Florida State Prison; 05/02/2007, Criminal Registration as a Felon; 08/26/2007,Fail to Register Motor Vehicle, 05/15/2008, Grand Theft Vehicle; 05/19/2008, Probation Violation; 10/27/2008, sent to Florida State Prison; 11/22/2011, Criminal Registration.