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Facebook assists police in car theft arrest

Longboat Key Police got an arrest warrant and a juvenile pick-up order on two suspects associated with a Longboat Key car theft after a Facebook thread comment implicated those involved.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. July 15, 2015
  • Longboat Key
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Everyone is on Facebook, even Longboat Key Detective Sgt. Robert Bourque.

In April, Bourque skimmed Facebook accounts until he came across an interesting thread from a suspect who had been arrested April 18 for the theft of cars at a Parrish 7-Eleven.

Bourque confirmed one of the suspects wrote a post earlier than evening that read: “Done been all through Bradenton, sota, workin but we sliden 3 cars deep coolin, who up?”

In the Facebook post of comments from the suspect’s friends, the suspect identified everyone who was with him the night of April 18, when three cars were stolen, including the Lexus of a Longboat Key resident.

“Facebook was a break for our car theft,” Bourque said. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

“Facebook was a break for our car theft. You can’t make this stuff up.”

— Longboat Key Detective Sgt. Robert Bourque

Tangerine Bay Club resident David Spector reported the theft of his 2013 Lexus April 18, which was later recovered behind an abandoned house in Palmetto later that same day.

Bourque initiated a three-month investigation to nab the Key car theft suspects. Bourque discovered that two other cars later determined to be stolen (but weren’t registered in the stolen car database system yet) entered the Key early on the morning of April 18 from New Pass Bridge, were driven into the Mobil gas station and into the Dry Dock Waterfront Restaurant parking lot near Tangerine Bay.

At 1:24 a.m. April 18, video from Tangerine Bay Club showed the Lexus entering the parking lot. The two other stolen cars and the Lexus were then seen heading northbound on Gulf of Mexico Drive from a gas station camera.

On the afternoon of April 18, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office notified Bourque it arrested three people for driving stolen cars in Parrish. Video surveillance at the Parrish 7-Eleven confirmed the Lexus and another stolen car that was on the Key that night were in that parking lot.

Once the subjects were arrested and identified, Bourque began searching Facebook accounts to look for suspects.  

On June 3, using the Facebook thread and evidence found in the Lexus, a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy finally got the suspect to identify who was driving the stolen Lexus and the juvenile passenger.

Bourque obtained an arrest warrant June 24 for Sarasota resident Brendan Drake for grand theft auto of the Lexus and a juvenile pick up order for the other suspect, who wasn’t named. They were arrested in Manatee County a few days later.

“These were real bad guys that were a real problem for the area,” Bourque said. “Multiple arrests for cars and guns were made on these guys, and I’m glad they’re off the streets. 



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