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Jan 3, 2022

Two teenaged suspects arrested after committing several vehicle burglaries in Winter Haven

Media Contact: Carrie Horstman, Administrator

Two teenaged suspects are facing multiple felonies after burglarizing 10 vehicles in two neighborhoods and stealing a pickup truck in unincorporated Polk County during the early morning hours of New Year's Eve, December 31, 2021. While PCSO detectives were investigating the burglaries, the suspects hit a neighborhood in the city of Winter Haven the following morning, and were apprehended by the Winter Haven Police Department.

PCSO detectives charged 17-year-old Jabari' Jahiem Johnson (DOB 1/9/04) and 16-year-old Jay Liriano (DOB 6/2/05), both of Lake Wales, with the following:

Armed burglary of a vehicle (F1)
Grand theft of a motor vehicle (F2)
Grand theft of a firearm (F2)
Conspiracy to commit burglary (F2)
Petit theft (F2)

Johnson was additionally charged with:
Use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony (F2)
Dealing in stolen property (F2)

Johnson and Liriano first went into Emily Estates off of Overlook Drive in Winter Haven in Johnson's red BMW SUV and burglarized three unlocked vehicles. They stole and later abandoned a white 2021 Dodge Ram truck, and took a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun from the truck. They then went into the Orange Manor Mobile Home Park off of Eloise Loop Road and burglarized seven unlocked vehicles and stole a handgun from a vehicle in that neighborhood as well.

On January 1, 2022, around 4:20 a.m., the Winter Haven Police Department responded to an in-progress burglary on Lake Lucerne Way. WHPD arrested four suspects, two of whom were Johnson and Liriano. The stolen .45 caliber handgun was found in Johnson's vehicle at that time, in the passenger floor board (Liriano was the passenger). Both suspects admitted to the theft of the truck and the multiple vehicle burglaries in Emily Estates and Orange Manor, and to the thefts of both firearms, which were recovered.

"Both of these juvenile offenders will be held accountable for their felonious acts. I would like to remind the public that the best way to keep firearms out of criminals' hands is to keep them locked away where nobody can get to them. Please do not leave firearms unsecured in a vehicle. Please lock your vehicles, regardless of what's inside of them. I hope these two stay locked for a while to protect the public - there's no excuse for stealing. This is a lesson our juvenile justice system needs to make sure that these two understand." - Grady Judd, Sheriff

Johnson's criminal history includes a 2019 arrest for robbery.