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Fired Clearwater lifeguard stole, crashed Florida Highway Patrol cruiser, troopers say

Shane Jensen, 22, of Largo, faces charges of carjacking, reckless driving and aggravated assault with a hammer from Pinellas and Okeechobee counties. [Clearwater Police Department]
Published May 3

CLEARWATER — A three-day search for a fired Clearwater lifeguard wanted in a carjacking ended more than 100 miles away Thursday night when he stole — and crashed — a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser on Florida's Turnpike, troopers said.

Shane Michael Boisseaux Jensen, 22, of Largo, was taken into custody and is being treated at Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee, just north of Lake Okeechobee, the Highway Patrol said.

Jensen faces charges of car theft and reckless driving in Okeechobee County and carjacking and aggravated assault with a hammer in Pinellas County. He may face also additional charges.

The search started after an incident that took place at about 11 a.m. Wednesday outside a Home Depot at 2495 Gulf to Bay Blvd., according to Clearwater police. Jensen stole a hammer from the store then went to the contractor-loading zone and tried to force two men to give him their truck, police said.

When that didn't work, he went to the parking lot and got into the driver's seat of a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 mega cab truck. He threatened the 17-year-old passenger with the hammer, police said. The teen, fearing an attack, got out.

Jensen took the truck, which was owned by Robert Brown of Seffner, and drove east on the Courtney Campbell Causeway into Tampa.

Police sent out bulletins, seeking the public's help in finding the truck. By Thursday afternoon, they identified Jensen as the driver and asked for the public's help finding him. Police also explained what Jensen had been up to before the Home Depot incident:

On Monday, Jensen was fired from his job at the city of Clearwater's Long Center, where he worked occasionally as a lifeguard. He was terminated after he smashed the windows of his supervisor's car at the complex at 1501 N. Belcher Road.

Clearwater police arrested him Monday on charges of felony criminal mischief, resisting arrest with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer and possession of marijuana. He was booked into the Pinellas County jail and released Tuesday after posting $12,150 bail.

He stole the truck from Home Depot the next day, police said.

Authorities' next run-in with Jensen took place at about 4 p.m. Thursday along the northbound shoulder of the Florida Turnpike in Okeechobee County, west of Vero Beach. Jensen was walking on the side of the highway and appeared to be in medical distress, according to the Highway Patrol. A trooper stopped to help him.

Jensen was incoherent when the trooper tried talking to him, so the trooper called for medical help. The trooper then walked to a road ranger who had pulled up behind his patrol cruiser so he could get Jensen some water.

Then Jensen got into the trooper's cruiser and drove away, headed north on the turnpike, the Highway Patrol said. Other troopers were dispatched to help and pulled Jensen over. But when they got out of their cruisers to apprehend him, the Highway Patrol said Jensen put the stolen cruiser in reverse, accelerated at the troopers, then drove away again.

As the stolen cruiser crossed north into Osceola County, sheriff's deputies and troopers threw spiked tire deflation devices into the turnpike lanes near Yeehaw Junction. Jensen avoided them, the Highway Patrol said, but drove into the grass median and struck the guardrail.

Jensen got out and ran into the woods, where troopers found and arrested him. He was taken to the hospital for treatment and was reported to be in stable condition Thursday. No one else was injured in Thursday's incidents.

Contact Kathryn Varn at or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.


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