OKEECHOBEE – Two Okeechobee teenagers were arrested Monday following reports of burglary of vehicles and the theft of a vehicle in southwest Okeechobee.
On Dec. 28, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) Deputy T. Cox responded to a complaint of a stolen vehicle at a Southwest 16th residence. The victim told the deputy at around 5:30 a.m., her dog was barking and she went outside and noticed her red 2016 Dodge Challenger was missing from the driveway. The deputy learned the car was not locked and there may have been a spare key inside the vehicle. Some items that had been inside the car were found scattered along Southwest 16th Street.
The victim also reported another vehicle had been broken into. Items apparently stolen from that vehicle included an Okeechobee High School Chromebook.
Another deputy saw the stolen Challenger and attempted to apprehend the driver, but the driver reportedly attempted to run over the deputy and got away.
At 6:30 a.m., Deputy Jamie Knapp located the stolen Challenger at the intersection of U.S. 441 S and U.S. 441 S.E. When the deputy turned on the lights and sirens to initiate a traffic stop, the vehicle accelerated and swerved around other vehicles. The deputy called off the pursuit when he lost sight of the vehicle. About 30 minutes later, the deputy saw the Challenger parked on the side of the highway in the 6000 block of U.S. S.E. near the bridge. She and Deputy N. Mitchell located the driver under the bridge and arrested him.
Robert Anthony Waugh, 17, of SE 59th Drive, was arrested and charged with burglary of an unoccupied vehicle, grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding law enforcement with lights and sirens and aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. After being booked at the Okeechobee County Jail, he was turned over the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Later that morning, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy D. Satallante was dispatched to a Southwest 18th Terrace home in reference to a vehicle burglary. Video evidence showed two teenagers trying car doors to see if they were locked. When they found an unlocked vehicle, they entered the vehicle.
A number of items were found on the ground near the driveway.
Zachary Ryan Smith, 17, of SE 29th Lane, Okeechobee, was charged with burglary of an unoccupied vehicle. He was turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Waugh was also charged with burglary of an unoccupied vehicle in connection with this case.