Ocala, Florida — “I will not tolerate this type of violent criminal behavior, which puts Marion County citizens at risk,” Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair said during a press meeting Thursday. “This agency will be very proactive to stop the violent criminals before they seriously hurt someone.”
This message comes after twin brothers Caleb and Kadrene Clayton, 17, were arrested earlier the same day for robbing a Family Dollar located at 2370 Northwest 45th Terrace.
The two suspects fled the scene, but crashed their vehicle into a RaceTrac fuel tanker while trying to enter an I-75 on-ramp.
This robbery was just one of 14 others that have occurred since March. Most of the robberies have taken place within the city limits.
However, on July 2, a Dollar General located at 2040 Northeast 35th Street was robbed inside the county.
Blair said, “Once the robberies extended outside the city limits, I immediately began looking at the data for all of the robberies that had taken place over the recent months.”
Blair also had a team analyze the data. Analysts factored in the time and locations of each robbery that had occurred, which provided the sheriff’s office with information on which locations to patrol.
Armed with this information, Blair said he met with MCSO Lieutenant Brian Dotten, who has been with the agency for 18 years, and came up with a plan.
On Monday, Blair told Lieutenant Dotten that he could have all the resources necessary to catch the robbers as soon as possible; essentially, he would have all hands on deck.
Utilizing multiple divisions from within the agency, Lieutenant Dotten put together a team in hopes of catching the robbers in the act.
On July 8, using the information provided by the analysts, more than 50 team members from the sheriff’s office set out to patrol areas that could have been possible robbery targets.
Everyone had one goal in mind: to catch a thief.
On the morning of July 9, more than 20 team members were deployed to patrol certain areas. And on this day, Lieutenant Dotten said the proactive undercover work paid off.
MCSO Sergeant Steve Osborne, who has been with the agency for 21 years, was in the area of the Family Dollar when it was robbed on Thursday. Sergeant Osborne said that at approximately 9:40 a.m., he saw two black males running from a Family Dollar store, one of whom was carrying a weapon.
The suspects ran to their vehicle, at which time Sergeant Osborne began pursuit.
Sergeant Osborne said the pursuit only lasted a few minutes before the suspects crashed into the fuel tanker while trying to get on the interstate.
It was at that time that one of the suspects bailed from the white 1997 Nissan Maxima on foot.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Ocala Police Department, and Florida Highway Patrol worked together to set up a perimeter to keep the suspect from eluding capture.
Caleb, the suspect who ran from the crash, was captured at the scene. His brother, Kadrene, who was trapped in the car, is in serious but stable condition at a local hospital.
While processing the crash site, Ocala police found a pump-action shotgun in the getaway vehicle.
Lieutenant Dotten said, “We are not 100 percent positive that the two teens who were apprehended today are responsible for other burglaries, but there are certainly close similarities in this case that relate to other cases.”
Lieutenant Dotten said that the suspects needed to be caught because they were getting brazen and extremely dangerous. He said that in the Thursday morning robbery, one of the brothers pointed a gun at citizens who were standing outside of the Family Dollar and herded them into the store.
Blair said that the MCSO and the OPD have partnered up on this investigation, and that the investigation is ongoing.
“If I have to use all of the manpower available to me to keep these violent criminals from harming a citizen of this county, I will,” Blair said.
For this case, Caleb is facing two counts of Armed Robbery, two counts of Grand Theft Auto, and Aggravated Assault with a Firearm.
Some believe they should be free and have already begun to threaten with protests.
Ocala Post will publish Kadrene’s booking photo once he is released from the hospital.