Quick action by the crew of a Waste Management truck making its morning rounds in Anna Maria May 23 resulted in the arrest of two suspects on charges of grand theft and violation of parole.
Sgt. Paul Davis, the officer in charge of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria substation, said the incident was a perfect example of the “Waste Watch” program in action. WMI crews now are trained to observe and report suspicious activity to police.
Davis said that around 9:50 a.m. May 23, a WMI trash hauler was on Kumquat Lane in Anna Maria when a crewmember saw a man and woman in a late-model Chrysler pull up behind a lawn maintenance truck with an open trailer of equipment. The man exited the car, took some of the equipment from the trailer to the car, and then the driver sped away, heading out of Anna Maria.
“The WMI crew observed suspicious activity and contacted law enforcement, which put out a bulletin to be on the lookout for a late-model, black, four-door Chrysler 300,” Davis said.
“That’s how the Waste Watch program is supposed to work and this is a perfect example,” Davis said, because HBPD, acting on the BOLO, turned up a man and woman in a vehicle matching the description a short time later.
When HBPD caught up with the suspects at Kingfish Boat Ramp on Manatee Avenue west of the Anna Maria Island Bridge, they had run out of gas as they attempted to leave the island.
MCSO Deputy Matt Kiernan made the arrest. .
Davis said the identities of the suspects are being withheld while the investigation continues.
“I can tell you that a 28-year-old male and a 27-year-old female were arrested. Both gave addresses in Seffner, Fla., but the investigation has moved beyond just grand theft and parole violation,” Davis said.
“This shows what can happen when people call us to report suspicious activity. We’ll check it out, even if the report comes to nothing,” Davis said.
Davis praised the cooperation among the island law enforcement agencies and the WMI crew.
Two weeks ago, an Anna Maria resident heard strange noises coming from a neighbor’s house in the evening. She did not call police, Davis said, and the following day, MCSO deputies responded to a burglary call at that residence.
“Please, call us. It benefits the community when people let us know what’s going on that doesn’t look right,” Davis said.
The direct line for calls to MCSO in Anna Maria is 941-708-8899.
In an emergency, people should call 911, Davis said.