Pasco's trend of "smash and grab" business burglaries extended to Hernando County this week, and authorities there arrested three suspects after an auto shop became the latest target.
About 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, Hernando deputies responded to an alarm at Euro Tech Automotive, 5100 Commercial Way in Spring Hill. The front window of the business was shattered.
A Euro Tech employee provided a surveillance video of the suspects to investigators, who then issued an alert to patrol deputies, Hernando authorities said.
A short time later, a deputy initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle matching the description of the getaway car. That stop led to the arrest of Andrew Thomas Wyatt, 23, and Jeremy Christian Mercier, 24, both of New Port Richey, both charged with commercial burglary; and James Conner Williamson, 21, of Venice, charged as a principal to the crime. All three were being booked Thursday at the Hernando County jail.
"This particular case is a perfect example that having sufficient boots on the ground is one of the most effective tools in making a quick apprehension," Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis said in a statement.
Detectives with Hernando's Selective Enforcement Unit have been flooding commercial areas in the county after a rash of burglaries within the last month. Earlier this week, Pasco authorities arrested three teenagers accused of smashing front widows of convenience stores around west Pasco and taking thousand of dollars worth of cigarettes.
Pasco sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said detectives were on the hunt for others involved in other commercial break-ins. He said about 19 businesses had been hit since July 1.