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Fort Myers brothers wanted for stealing trailers caught in Pasco, taken down by K9

Samuel Retherford (left) and Edward Retherford (right) were arrested Saturday after they were accused of stealing a trailer off a lot in Land O'Lakes. [Pasco Sheriff's Office]
Samuel Retherford (left) and Edward Retherford (right) were arrested Saturday after they were accused of stealing a trailer off a lot in Land O'Lakes. [Pasco Sheriff's Office]
Published Sep. 18, 2018

LAND O'LAKES — It started just after 9:30 Saturday night.

Detectives from the Lee County Sheriff's Office called counterparts in Pasco. Suspects they had been following through several counties might be hitting a trailer lot along Land O' Lakes Boulevard.

They were.

Brothers Edward Duane Retherford, 54, and Samuel Lafayette Retherford, 60, were arrested on burglary and drug charges for stealing an enclosed trailer from Trailer Country and being found in possession of meth, Pasco deputies said.

Deputies said the two used a pair of blue bolt cutters to break through a barbed wire fence, then attached an enclosed trailer to their 2004 Dodge pickup truck and drove off. Aware that the two were suspected of other trailer thefts, Pasco deputies coordinated their approach to the suspects with aviation and K9 units.

Deputies tracked the the truck as it headed north on Land O'Lakes Boulevard. They attempted a stop just east of Pasco Trails Boulevard and State Road 52. The truck slowed but wouldn't stop. Deputies, however, were ready with stop sticks they used to disable the vehicle.

Samuel Retherford, who deputies said was driving, was immediately arrested. His brother Edward took off on foot.

Edward Retherford led deputies on brief chase through a swamp. Body cam footage shows Deputy Christopher Stone and K9 JR track Retherford from the road through dense vegetation and near waist-high waters, shouting ignored commands. Eventually, Retherford was spotted behind a tree in a bright red t-shirt. JR swiftly took him down.

Both men were charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools and possession of meth. Edward Retherford was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia for a crack pipe deputies said they found.

Arrest reports from the Pasco Sheriff's Office said the two men were being investigated for multiple trailer thefts and a Pasco Sheriff's Office release stated Lee County detectives had been monitoring the two. However, the Lee County Sheriff's Office said it could not confirm nor deny any existing investigations into the Retherfords.

Both men have been arrested multiple times in Lee County since the '80s.

Getting into the "drink" is not uncommon in Land O'Lakes. According to the Sheriff's Office it was the second time that day Stone and JR had found themselves wading through swampy waters. And in April, Paul Daniel Smith ran from deputies in a Land O'Lakes swamp and was also tracked by a K9.

Contact Daniel Figueroa at dfigueroa@tampabay.com. Follow @danuscripts.