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Men arrested after breaking into 3 local homes, hours-long manhunt

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Posted at 6:42 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 18:42:51-04

LIBERTY COUNTY, Fla. — Two men are behind bars after a chainsaw theft spree and a seven-hour manhunt in Liberty County.

The Liberty County Sheriff's office says they received a call Wednesday morning reporting the theft of a chainsaw from a home on Lake Mystic Church Road. A witness was able to describe the two male suspects, as well as their vehicle.

Deputies then began searching the area for the suspect vehicle. About 10 minutes later, a deputy on patrol on C.R. 379 in the Alligator Community saw a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle and tried to conduct a traffic stop.

Instead, LCSO says the suspect vehicle sped off, leading deputies on a chase. The deputy followed the suspect vehicle for three miles before the suspects tried to drive off the highway in an effort to evade the deputy. However, their car got stuck just 75 yards off the road.

That's when the driver of the car, Randall Peoples, ran away from the vehicle and into the woods and the passenger, Anthony Hysmith, was taken into custody.

After a seven hour search involving members of the Liberty and Calhoun Correctional Institutions' K-9 Teams, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Bay County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit, Florida Wildlife Commission, and the Florida Highway Patrol, Peoples was found and taken into custody.

After interviewing Hysmith and Peoples, investigators determined they had stolen items from three homes in Liberty County.

At a home on Pea Ridge Road, the pair had stole an air compressor, a golf cart battery charger, and attempted to break into the home without success. The pair then traveled to a home on Mango Drive where they broke into a shed and stole a dirt bike and three chainsaws. Deputies say the two then traveled the home on Lake Mystic Church Road where they stole a propane heater and propane tank. They then broke into the home and stole a chainsaw, money and medication.

In total, LCSO says they stole approximately $2,800 worth of items. All of the stolen property was recovered.

As a result of the investigation, Peoples has been charged with the following:

  • Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure while Unarmed- 2 Counts
  • Burglary to a Structure- 1 Count
  • Grand Theft (Over $300 under $5,000)- 3 Counts
  • Fleeing/Eluding Law Enforcement- 1 Count
  • Violation of State Probation

As a result of the investigation, Hysmith has been charged with the following:

  • Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure while Unarmed- 2 Counts
  • Burglary to a Structure- 1 Count
  • Grand Theft (Over $300 under $5,000)- 3 Counts
  • Violation of Probation

Both men are being held in the Liberty County Jail with no bond.

If you see suspicious activity, report it to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office by calling (850)643-2235.