Two Lakeland women were arrested late last night after they were spotted by a deputy sheriff burglarizing a donation center. Around 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, 2007, Polk County Deputy Sheriff Jim Ostojic, driving home after working an off-duty detail, noted a 1999 white Dodge pickup truck parked behind the Children’s Donation Center, located at 5545 US Hwy 98 North in Lakeland. Due to a recent attempted burglary at a local business nearby, D/S Ostojic had been scanning the area for suspicious activity when he saw the truck. D/S Ostojic pulled into the parking lot alongside the truck and noted that it was still warm. D/S Ostojic, along with backup units who had arrived, located two women nearby, who admitted that the truck was theirs but were being elusive as to why they were in the area.
Upon further inspection of the area, deputies noticed the chain link fence around the donation center had been cut and peeled back, and several items had been removed from the center and piled up outside the hole in the fence. After further questioning, the two women, Karen Lewis, DOB 12/22/60, of 3020 Dalton Street in Lakeland, and Donna Thomas, DOB 6/18/66, of 3207 Crystal Hills Loop in Lakeland, admitted to stealing the items, including clothing, toys, and household goods, in excess of $400 in value. Donna Thomas also had in her possession a plastic baggie which field tested positive for Methamphetamines.
Both Lewis and Thomas were arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail on charges of Burglary of a Structure, and Theft. Donna Thomas also was charged with Possession of Meth and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Lewis bonded out of jail on March 2nd, and Thomas is still being held on $3,500 bond. Lewis has three prior arrests in Polk County, and Thomas has seven.