WESLEY CHAPEL – Two teenagers were arrested during the early hours of Tuesday, Sept. 15, after Pasco County Sheriff's Office deputies say they stole a vehicle and crashed it in Wesley Chapel.
According to police reports, an on-duty K-9 unit spotted a vehicle without its headlights on driving east on State Road 54, near Saddlebrook, around midnight Tuesday.
The deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop but the vehicle did not stop and turned onto Smith Road, near the entrance to Ashley Pines. Immediately after turning, the vehicle went off the road and into a marshy area.
The suspects, 16-year-old Matthew Chio, of Wesley Chapel, and 15-year-old Cameron Ray Tuttle, of Tampa, fled the crashed vehicle on foot, reports state. The deputy and his K-9 partner tracked and detained both teens.
In addition to driving a stolen vehicle, a search discovered two stolen firearms.
The teens admitted to burglarizing multiple vehicles and that the firearms were stolen from two separate vehicles, deputies say.
Chio is charged with vehicle theft, fleeing to elude, resisting without violence and carrying a concealed firearm.
Tuttle is charged with carrying a concealed firearm, armed auto burglary and resisting without violence.
In a media alert describing the incident, the Sheriff's Office urged residents to not only lock their vehicles, but to make sure firearms are stored securely and responsibly.
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco released a video Monday detailing shootings that took place over the weekend involving juveniles and a stolen firearm. That case resulted in the death of a woman.
"In light of the homicide on Irene Loop in New Port Richey that Sheriff Nocco spoke about on Monday," the media alert reads, "(the) Pasco Sheriff's Office urges residents to secure their firearms and vehicles to help prevent these crimes, especially among juveniles."