POLK COUNTY, Fla. – What started as a series of vehicle burglaries in Tampa led to a pursuit involving a teenage driver in a stolen vehicle and a crash in Polk County, according to the Tampa Police Department.
Police said they received several calls Wednesday morning and afternoon about items, including a gun, being stolen from vehicles. A witness described the suspect vehicle as a white SUV, records show.
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During one of the five burglaries that occurred between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., someone was able to write down the license plate number of the white SUV, which turned out to be stolen out of Kissimmee, according to authorities.
Police said the SUV was spotted at about 1 p.m. on Melburne Boulevard and they tried to approach it cautiously knowing that a gun had been stolen but the driver fled.
A pursuit was initiated and the SUV drove onto Interstate 4 but as the suspect vehicle entered Polk County, officers on the ground stood down to let the helicopter unit take the lead, according to a news release.
Authorities said the Florida Highway Patrol also got involved in trying to end the pursuit.
At about 1:43 p.m., police said the stolen SUV crashed into a pickup truck at U.S. Highway 192, causing serious injuries to that driver.
The impact of that crash also pushed the pickup truck into an SUV, which then hit another SUV, according to FHP.
Police said the teenage driver was taken to an area hospital for treatment and guns were found in the stolen vehicle.
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