LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — A convicted felon is back behind bars after a joint task force operation connected him to a string of vehicle burglaries around the Leon County area.
Leon County deputies responded to the 2100 block of North Meridian Road to investigate a vehicle burglary on Monday, around 4:00am.
A witness told deputies he saw the suspect enter a marked LCSO vehicle.
The witness knew the suspect was not the deputy who drove that vehicle.
Deputies say after the witness yelled at the suspect, he ran away with a rifle in his hand.
Deputies on scene confirmed the marked LCSO vehicle was burglarized with no forced entry and a rifle was stolen.
Security video from the area showed a car driving slowly through the parking lot.
A short time later, the vehicle was seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed.
LCSO says several other vehicle burglaries were reported in the area, also with no forced entry, including an unmarked Florida Wildlife Commission vehicle with several AR rifle magazines being stolen.
During the investigation, detectives from the LCSO/TPD Joint Auto Crimes Task Force responded and took over to further investigate.
Authorities spoke to victims who stated that stolen credit cards from their vehicles were being used at various businesses in Leon County.
Task Force detectives responded to the businesses and viewed security video of the cards being used.
The LCSO RTCC (Real Time Crime Center) assisted and were able to identify the suspect as 28-year-old Brandon Johnson.
Detectives found Johnson, in the 2700 block of West Tharpe Street.
Authorities say Johnson was wearing the same clothes seen in security videos.
During the investigation, an inside inventory of the vehicle revealed an AR rifle magazine, matching one reported stolen, and cigars and lighters from one of the stolen credit card purchases.
Detectives also confirmed that Johnson was a convicted felon in the State of Florida.
Based on the evidence, Johnson was arrested and transported to the Leon County Detention Facility.
LCSO says they are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the events leading up to this case.
“I’m proud of our team for making a quick arrest in this disappointing case. It is a stanch and critical reminder of the importance of everyone locking their vehicles, removing their valuables, including firearms, each and every day,” said Sheriff Walt McNeil.
Johnson is facing a series of charges including armed burglary, grand theft, and fraud.