Search for Pasco carjacking suspect arrested Friday began with theft of coins, authorities say

Kenneth Michael Brown, 30, was handcuffed as he sat naked by railroad tracks.
Kenneth Michael Brown, 30, was handcuffed as he sat naked by railroad tracks.
Published June 13, 2015

NEW PORT RICHEY — The search for the naked, armed carjacking suspect arrested early Friday started with a bag of coins.

On Wednesday, Kenneth Michael Brown, 30, stole three guns and a bag of coins from a Zephyrhills residence, officials said. The bag of coins was too heavy, so Brown stashed it along the house's fence, Pasco County sheriff's officials said at a news conference.

Brown returned to retrieve the bag Thursday and was chased by the house's resident, authorities said. In an attempt to get out of the area, Brown tried to enter another house by pointing a gun at the 10-year-old boy who was home. The boy locked the door and refused to let him in, Sgt. Dean Quinlan said.

"It takes a sick individual to go after a 10-year-old boy and possibly cause him harm," Sheriff Chris Nocco said later.

Because of Brown's drug history and behavior, authorities believe he was on methamphetamine. According to state records, Brown has been arrested at least 18 times in Florida since 2002. He served several months in the county jail for drug and battery charges, and he spent a year in state prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

About 1:30 p.m. Thursday, authorities say, he forced a woman to give up her car near Belmont Place and Eiland Boulevard in Zephyrhills and drove it for a mile before running toward the Crystal Springs area, where he found a woman he knew and forced her at gunpoint to drive him in her car.

At Jerry Road, he got out of the car, fled into the woods and shed his clothes. Deputies tracked down Brown and followed him into the area, where authorities say he fired one shot.

A tip from an anonymous source about 1 a.m. Friday led the team of deputies to an area along railroad tracks north of Jerry Road, where the source said Brown might be hiding.

More than 60 officers were called to surround the perimeter. They used long-gun coverage, night vision equipment and police dogs. A dog bit Brown, and deputies were able to get on top of him, Sgt. Chad Tadlock said.

"If those guys weren't as quick as they were, it's very possible a shootout could have happened, and people could have gotten injured," Tadlock said.

Video from body cameras shows Brown sitting naked by the railroad tracks as authorities handcuffed him. Cuts and scrapes covered his bare legs, and large tattoos were sprawled across his back and arms.

Brown faces charges of armed burglary, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of armed carjacking. He was being held Friday at the Land O'Lakes Detention Center in lieu of $610,000 bail.

Nocco said Brown's case underscores the dangers of meth — a problem his officers are trying to tackle in east Pasco. Brown had been known in the community as a violent man, he said.

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"This guy was a time bomb about to explode," Nocco said.

Contact Samantha Schmidt at (813) 435-7308 or Follow @schmidtsam7.