3 teenagers among 4 charged in burglaries
SPRING HILL — Authorities have arrested four suspects, including three teenagers, believed to be responsible for a string of vehicle burglaries in Spring Hill over the past four months.
According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, the four suspects targeted unlocked vehicles in residential areas of Spring Hill starting in October. The group would allegedly roam neighborhoods during the late evening and early morning hours, looking into unlocked cars for GPS devices, radios, speakers, MP3 players and other items of value.
Deputies said the suspects would then take the items and sell them for cash. Collectively, the group racked up 35 vehicle burglary charges and allegedly stole more than $12,000 worth of property.
They were caught Jan. 11 in the 9300 block of Noddy Tern Road, when a deputy saw a silver Ford pickup driving up and down several dead-end streets. The truck matched the description of a vehicle seen leaving a residence where an attempted vehicle burglary had just taken place.
The deputy made a traffic stop and found that Ashlee Bell, 18, of Port Richey, was driving the truck. She later admitted that she and a 16-year-old boy were in the area committing burglaries. They were both arrested. Also arrested on vehicle burglary charges were Joeanna Montanez, 22, of Spring Hill and a 15-year-old boy.
Bell also faces charges of probation violation and driving with a suspended license. The 16-year-old was also charged with a count of armed burglary for allegedly stealing a handgun from a vehicle.
Police seek man who posed as officer
SPRING HILL — Hernando County deputies were searching Friday for a man who told a woman that he was an undercover officer as he was trying to get into her car in the parking lot of a shopping center.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the man approached the woman in the lot of Weeki Wachee Village at U.S. 19 and State Road 50 about 1 p.m. The man told the woman he was working undercover and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get into her vehicle.
The man was described as white, about 50 to 55 years old, 5 feet 10 with a thin build and short blondish-gray hair. He was wearing khaki shorts and a long-sleeved khaki plaid jacket over a similar-looking shirt.
The man was driving a gold-colored, four-door Mercedes from the 1990s.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at (352) 754-6830 or Hernando County Crime Stoppers toll-free 1-866-990-8477.
Man, 51, charged with sexual battery
WEBSTER — Hernando County sheriff's deputies have arrested a 51-year-old Webster man on two counts of sexual battery involving a teenage girl.
Frank Richard Torres is accused of intentionally touching the victim in the genital area and performing oral sex on her Tuesday night at his home, the Sheriff's Office said.
Torres was taken into custody Thursday and interviewed at the Sheriff's Office, where he admitted to the acts. He was taken to the Hernando County jail, where he remained Friday in lieu of $60,000 bail.
Further investigation revealed Torres had fraudulently obtained state identification cards and licenses, using at least three aliases and fake Social Security numbers. Detectives also discovered an active warrant for one of the aliases out of Pinellas County on charges of grand theft and driving with an expired license.