INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A license plate reader camera tracked a pickup stolen out of St. Lucie County, leading deputies to catch the man behind the wheel. Deputies used a low-speed maneuver to box in the driver, leading to his arrest earlier this month.
The Oct. 4 incident is the latest case involving the Flock Safety license plate reader camera system to help deputies catch stolen vehicles. The system identifies vehicle license plates that are connected to crimes and automatically notifies law enforcement.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office recently released footage of the driver’s arrest.
Tony J. Sarao Jr., 43, of the 4100 block of 16th Street, Vero Beach, was charged with grand theft auto, driving under the influence, burglary of an occupied dwelling and driving while license suspended. Sarao was held Wednesday at the Indian River County Jail without bond.
Indian River County sheriff’s deputies received information about the stolen vehicle. Deputies learned the suspect drove the blue Ford F-250 north on State Road A1A and then westbound along the Merrill P. Barber Bridge, reports show.
A sheriff’s helicopter and patrol units tracked the pickup as it traveled throughout the area, eventually reaching the intersection of State Road 60 and 43rd Avenue. The video showed several patrol deputies surround the pickup before the vehicle eventually comes to a halt.
All the vehicles were traveling at low speed during the traffic stop, the video showed.
Deputies said the driver, Sarao, chugged down a can of beer as they yelled for him to exit the truck. The deputies detained Sarao and found two Bud light beers in the center cupholders along with a Twisted Tea drink, reports show.
Deputies arrested Sarao and booked him into the county jail. Sarao has an arraignment at 8:45 a.m. Nov. 30, court records show.