Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A sofa carted off from Goodwill before dawn leads to a chase, arrest

LAND O'LAKES — The deputy approached the Goodwill store on State Road 54. In the darkness before dawn, he could make out a man muscling a blue sectional sofa into a truck.

It was 5 a.m. Thursday, well before Goodwill was scheduled to open. Somebody had come by during the night and donated the couch.

As the man began to drive away, Deputy David Roque turned on his blue flashing lights. Heath Labarge, a 35-year-old mason from Land O'Lakes, perspired and seemed nervous, according to a report from the Pasco Sheriff's Office. He said he didn't have his license on him and gave a fake name — James E. Tombs — and the wrong birthday.

Then he jumped in his truck and sped off, leading Roque and other deputies on a 60 mph chase through back roads behind the shopping plaza.

It didn't last long.

On Carson Drive, a section of the sofa tumbled out the back of his truck, the report said. Then, while the truck was still in motion, Labarge bailed out and tried to run away. The truck crashed into a fence. Labarge hurdled two fences and ran into the woods, where he was captured.

He is charged with fleeing to elude, theft, habitually driving with a suspended or revoked license, resisting arrest and violating his felony probation. Labarge's first arrest was at 16 for loitering and prowling. He resisted arrest that time, too, according to records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Thursday marked his 15th arrest. Labarge, who served time in prison for aggravated battery and tampering with a witness, was being held without bail Friday in the Land O'Lakes jail.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

A sofa carted off from Goodwill before dawn leads to a chase, arrest 07/17/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 17, 2009 7:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 26-July 2.


    Vans Warped Tour: The festival returns Saturday to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, featuring shock-metal icons Gwar, hardcore punks Sick Of It All, ska band Save Ferris and indie-pop group Never Shout Never ($39.50-$49.50). vanswarpedtour. …

    Crowd for the Motionless in White band at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour at Vinoy Park, Friday, July 25, 2014.  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  2. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the United States today.

  3. AP: Rick Scott to name Jimmy Patronis CFO on Monday


    From the AP's Gary Fineout:

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott is turning to a long-time political ally and former north Florida legislator to take over one of the top elected jobs in state government. 

    Then state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City Beach, left, and Gov. Rick Scott, tour downtown Panama City, Fla. on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Scott will name Patronis CFO on Monday.
  4. Despite Pride success, Grand Central business owners upset over losing parade


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Grand Central District was packed with people Sunday, there to enjoy the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    Patrons eat lunch and cool off inside of the Community Cafe during the St. Pete Pride Street Festival along Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times

  5. Rays blow another lead, lose rubber match to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles rallied past the Rays on Sunday, winning the rubber match of the three-game series 8-5.

    Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) scores in the eighth in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.