An alert citizen sitting in a vehicle in a nearby parking lot knew something was amiss when a U-Haul box truck pulled up in front of the Tradition-area Bass Pro Shop shortly after midnight on Jan. 30.
That citizen called police – and authorities from the Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce police departments and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office responded.
The U-Haul was backed into the glass doors of the store, allowing the eight people in the truck to quickly gain access. They grabbed a dozen rifles and two hard rubber training firearms and fled in the truck, leaving the pull-down door open.
A responding Port St. Lucie Police officer spotted the U-Haul heading northbound on Interstate 95 and requested additional officers for assistance. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office responded as the truck exited onto Midway Road, headed to Fort Pierce.
The Sheriff’s Office stopped the truck, but the suspects fled on foot. The Sheriff’s Air and K-9 units were deployed.
The Fort Pierce Police Department also responded, and between all three agencies, seven of the eight suspects were immediately apprehended – three taken into custody through the assistance of K-9. Two sustained K-9 bites and were treated and released from the hospital, according to the Port St. Lucie Police Department. The last of the suspects, a 15-year-old, was arrested the following day in Fort Pierce.
“Special thanks to St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and Fort Pierce Police Department for your help with this investigation and the apprehension of the named suspects,” the Port St. Lucie Police Department said in a prepared statement.
The suspects, all of whom live in Fort Pierce, range in age from 13 to 24. Each faces charges that include 12 counts of grand theft of a firearm, and one count each of the following: armed burglary of a dwelling/structure, damaged property/criminal mischief, and resisting officer/obstruction without violence.
The following suspects were arrested: Damon Maurice Foster, 24; Jean Oudorff Monfort, 20; Julydod Monfort, 18; Anthony Tanilus, 18; Tarmael Charles, 17; and three juveniles, ages 16, 15 and 13.