Monday, June 18, 2018
Public safety

Second arrest made in string of Pasco school break-ins, deputies say

NEW PORT RICHEY – Deputies have added an arrest and more charges as they chip away at a case involving a string of school burglaries, several suspects and thousands of dollars.

They arrested Joshua Jakeem Dennis, 17, on Wednesday after connecting him to a burglary at Ridgewood High School, a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report states. Deputies allege that Dennis, 19-year-old Alexis Ortiz and two other unknown suspects stole 37 iPods, 34 Apple laptops and one iPad from the high school on Feb. 27.

The burglary was one of 13 since October at schools including Calusa Elementary, Chasco Elementary and Chasco Middle, netting $172,875 in losses for the school district.

During Dennis' arrest, a report states, he pulled away from a detective, who then tackled him onto a couch. As the detective struggled to pull the teen's arm behind his back, he reached back and grabbed the butt of the detective's holstered pistol, then latched onto the detective's tie, strangling him, the report said. Another detective jumped in and wrangled the tie free of Dennis' grasp while the boy screamed, "I'm not going down without a fight," the report states.

Dennis was arrested on a charge of burglary to a business and aggravated assault on law enforcement. He was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center in Land O'Lakes.

Deputies also added a charge of dealing in stolen property to Ortiz's arrest record after, the report states, he confessed to buying a laptop stolen from Calusa Elementary for $150 to $200 from "another subject."

The charge was added to the Ortiz's list of two charges of dealing in stolen property and one of burglary. He remained Friday in the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $60,000 bail.

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