Cortez burglar sentenced to jail, probation

A 20-year-old Bradenton man, convicted of stealing cars, burglarizing homes and vehicles and leading law enforcement on an early morning chase in Cortez last year, was sentenced to five years in state prison with five years probation.

Charles H. Leonard was sentenced to the Florida Department of Corrections and credited for 491 days served on Sept. 5 by 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Janette Dunnigan. He currently is at the Central Florida Reception Center East in Orange County, with a release date to be determined, according to the DOC website.

Leonard faced one felony armed burglary charge, with a maximum life prison sentence, and numerous lesser felonies, as a result of his Dec. 19 arrest by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. At the time of his arrest, he had been on probation for a 2010 motor vehicle theft.

As part of his sentence, according to the circuit court website, Leonard was ordered to pay $250 in state and public defender attorney fees. His driver’s license also was suspended for five years.

As part of his probation, according to court records, he will report on release to an in-house residential drug treatment program.

The early morning chase leading to Leonard’s arrest included MCSO patrol deputies, a helicopter and K-9 units, as well as Bradenton and Palmetto police departments.

According to MCSO reports, a handgun was found inside the vehicle Leonard was seen driving and, after his arrest, he admitted to stealing the car, other vehicles and to numerous burglaries.

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