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Longboat Key Thursday, Mar. 7, 2019 3 years ago

Reward set for fugitive charged in Longboat theft

Sarasota man also charged in Venice, Crescent City.
by: Suzanne Elliott Staff Writer

Longboat Key police are looking for a Sarasota man in connection with the January theft of a 12-foot enclosed tool trailer from a construction site in town.  The trailer and tools inside were valued at $4,500 police said. 

Though at large, 50-year-old James Lee Lilly is charged with one count of grand theft in the Longboat Key case. Several other felony theft charges have been filed against Lilly by police agencies in Crescent City and Venice. The U.S. Marshal's Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his capture.


The search for Lilly stems from the theft on Jan. 2 of a Lark trailer from the 6100 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive. 

Detective Lt. Bob Bourque of the Longboat Police said security video, a thumbprint on a vehicle connected to the case and a drivers' license left behind by a man fleeing from police in Crescent City led investigators to charge Lilly. A second man spotted on video in Longboat Key has not been identified.

Bourque said the vehicle involved in the Longboat theft -- a red GMC Yukon -- carried a license plate reported stolen, along with construction tools, from a Venice worksite on Dec. 31, 2018. Video from that theft showed the same red GMC, along with a white Buick SUV. 

Police found the Buick in Palmetto, and investigators said they pulled Lilly's thumbprint from that vehicle.

The GMC was stopped by police in Crescent City on Jan. 9 in connection with a theft of a leaf-blower there. The driver of the GMC ran from police and escaped, but Lilly's drivers license was left behind in the truck.

Bourque said Lilly's estranged wife identified her husband on security video in the Venice case. Police in Georgia and South Carolina suspect Lilly has played a role in similar thefts of tools and construction gear recently.




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