published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Neighborhood Watch response helps deputies
Special to the News-Sun
SEBRING - Members of the Fairmount Mobile Estates Neighborhood Watch were on the lookout Tuesday morning and their information assisted deputies in apprehending a suspicious person with an active warrant.
At approximately 8 a.m. Tuesday, a resident of Fairmount Mobile Estates called the Highlands County Sheriff's Office Central Dispatch to report a suspicious person in the vicinity of a vehicle parked at an unoccupied home. As deputies were en route to the area, numerous other calls came in essentially detailing the path of the subject.
When the suspect ran, deputies set up a perimeter, however the subject continued eluding deputies. Undeterred, residents continued to call Dispatch and relay information regarding the subject's location. After tracking the subject for approximately 45 minutes, deputies took the subject, Donald Black Jr., into custody at the Publix Shopping Plaza at the corner of U.S. 27 and Schumacher Road/Sebring Parkway.
Black, who lists his address as 3623 New York Ave., within Fairmount Mobile Estates, had an active warrant for his arrest stemming from a vehicle theft, which occurred at a Alan Jay dealership in October. He was arrested on that warrant and transported to the Highlands County Jail where additional charges are expected from Tuesday morning's incident.
It should also be noted that there were two burglaries reported this morning in Fairmount Mobile Estates that evidence supports to be connected to this suspect. If anyone in the area has experienced other such incidents and have not yet reported them, call Central Dispatch and have a deputy come out and take a report as soon as possible.
Sgt.Jamie Davidson credits the alert and continuous response from the Fairmount Mobile Neighborhood Watch participants for the timely apprehension of Black. "If it wasn't for these calls, we might not have been able to find this person," Davidson said. "They certainly helped us today."
Sheriff Susan Benton emphasized the value of the community in this situation. "As stated by Sir Walter Peel, the founder of modern policing, the police are the public and the public are the police. It is imperative that we operate together; thank you Fairmount Mobile Neighborhood Watch."
Fairmount Mobile Estates Neighborhood Watch Captain Bernie Rupert said, "I'm glad we were able to assist the deputies this morning. We just did what we are trained to do, and I'm happy it worked out."
Anyone with further information on Tuesday's incident at Fairmount Mobile Estates is requested to call the Highlands County Sheriff's Office at 402-7200.
Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477), or go to the Internet at www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com/.
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