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St. Petersburg man accused of stealing car then blackmailing its owner

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a man they say first stole a woman's car then tried to make her pay to get it back.

Devon Stokes, 23, of St. Petersburg, faces charges of grand theft and extortion.

Officials said that sometime Tuesday morning, Stokes and two juveniles stole a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu from 4636 16th Ave. S.

Hours later, the car's owner, Angela Darby, got a call from the thieves. She had left her cell phone in the car.

Darby told detectives the thieves offered to give her car back — if she gave them $150. She said she didn't know them.

Stokes even said he was in the area and "ready to complete the deal," according to an arrest affidavit.

Darby called police, who located the car nearby and followed the suspects until they ditched the vehicle. Police arrested Stokes, they say, as he ran away.

He remained in the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday afternoon in lieu of $15,000 bail. Records indicate the juveniles also were taken into custody.