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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hillsborough commissioners request report on juvenile car theft from sheriff

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s “Eagle” helicopter unit tracks a car from the air with its infrared camera.

DIRK SHADD | Times

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s “Eagle” helicopter unit tracks a car from the air with its infrared camera.

Hillsborough commissioners, distressed by a Tampa Bay Times report about the juvenile auto theft epidemic in neighboring Pinellas County, ordered the sheriff to provide a rundown of the crime in the Tampa area on Wednesday.

Commissioner Sandy Murman asked the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to draw up a report on kids stealing cars and potential solutions. She said deputies have seen some teens come from Pinellas to Hillsborough in stolen cars or to break into cars.

“Car theft is a very serious problem with juveniles in Pinellas County,” Murman said. “I don’t want Hillsborough County to get in that.”

She referenced statistics from the Times series, "Hot Wheels," which showed that police in Pinellas arrested a juvenile for auto theft on average at least once a day. In 2015, officers arrested more juveniles for stealing cars in Pinellas than in any other Florida county. Reporters detailed the thieves' methods and motivations, as well as the serious danger of the crime. Kids driving stolen cars crashed once every four days in Pinellas, the newspaper's analysis found.

The Hillsborough commission passed Murman's motion unanimously. The Sheriff's Office will provide the report at a future meeting.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 4:40pm]

    

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