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Burglar shot as he flees Plant City home, deputies say

PLANT CITY — A suspect was shot in the foot by a homeowner Tuesday after being caught trying to flee a residence during a string of break-ins, deputies say.

At 7:12 a.m., deputies say, a homeowner found Christopher Scott Collins, 34, inside his 4926 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. home. Collins stole a .380 pistol before fleeing on foot upon being discovered, Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

The homeowner called the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which tracked the man by canine unit and helicopter.

Collins then went to 4740 Dawn Meadow Court in Plant City, Carter said, where he stole a change of clothes. But when homeowner, Anthony Mendolia, 59, arrived home and found Collins in his home, he took action, firing at the suspect several times, hitting Collins in the left foot.

Collins tried to flee again, but dropped the stolen gun along the way, Carter said. Deputies detained him not far away, at 4729 Dawn Meadow Court, and took him to South Florida Baptist Hospital, where he was treated and released into deputies' custody.

He is also charged in connection with four other recent burglaries, including a June 28 break-in at a deputy's home in Dover, during which ammunition, jewelry, money and a bulletproof vest were stolen.

His charges include burglary, grand theft, being a felon in possession of ammunition, four counts of criminal mischief, three counts of armed burglary and grand theft firearm.

Collins, of 1319 Holloway Road in Plant City, was being held without bail at Orient Road Jail.

Burglar shot as he flees Plant City home, deputies say 07/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 3, 2008 10:26am]
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