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Teen Arrested in "Car Hopping" Now Linked to Shooting Too

By: Leon County Sheriff's Office, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Leon County Sheriff's Office, Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED
April 18, 2014
By Julie Montanaro

Chauncey Hawkins - is now facing charges in both Leon County and Gadsden County.

In Leon County - he now faces charges for breaking into cars and stealing guns.

Today, he was charged with armed robbery and being an accessory to a shooting at the Gadsden Arms Apartments.

Hawkins has been charged with nearly four dozen crimes in the past week and told deputies the real tally may be in the hundreds.

Chauncey Hawkins was initially arrested in Tallahassee for breaking into 22 cars and stealing two guns.

Deputies then added to his rap sheet. 10 more car burglaries and two more stolen guns.

Now police in Quincy say Hawkins was one of the men accused in a shooting at the Gadsden Arms Apartments.
glenn sapp, quincy asst police chief

"He's one of the main players, we believe that at some point during this that he did possess a firearm, he was a party to the robbery. The motive behind this was illegal drugs - the substance "mollie.""

Sapp says Hawkins and the three other suspects are affiliated with a local gang.

Hawkins is one of ten teens suspected suspected in a car hopping spree in Tallahassee in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

Among the items stolen in the rash of car break ins, arrest papers say, are two handguns stolen from inside an unmarked Tallahassee Police car ... a glock 22 and a glock 27 like these.

The officer's glock 27 was recovered in the same truck in which Hawkins was arrested. He claims he bought it on the street for 250 dollars.

LCSO says the officer reported his car was locked, but deputies found no damage or signs of forced entry.

"Our policy is that the vehicle should be secured and I can't speak for how the vehicle was secured in that case," TPD Spokesman Scott Beck said.

Hawkins told investigators all the vehicles he and his crew burglarized were unlocked and they'd done it in Leon, Gadsden, Bay and Escambia Counties.

According to arrest papers, when asked how many burglaries they'd committed, Hawkins said "Ya'll think it's around 400 but it's actually more like 600. A lot of people ain't reporting them."

Arrest papers say the men stole $210 from inside a Bible in one of those cars.

At least five other teens have been arrested in connection with the rash of Tallahassee car burglaries.


UPDATED
April 17, 2014
By Julie Montanaro

Three teens have been arrested in connection with a rash of car burglaries in Tallahassee and three more teens are under arrest for stealing the cars themselves.

Court papers show as many as ten teens may have been "car hopping" and some of them may be tied to the same gang.

19 year old Chauncey Hawkins is accused of breaking into 22 cars.

Arrest papers say officers found him and another teen sleeping inside a stolen truck near the corner of Holton and Wies Street. Neighbors wondered why the F150 was parked outside with the motor running.

Arrest papers say there were also two loaded guns inside.

Tallahassee Police say Hawkins and the other teens arrested may be the first of many arrests in what appears to be a coordinated crime spree.

"It does appear to be very organized and it appears to be a large group of people that are responsible for this, not just one or two individuals," said Tallahassee Police Spokesman Scott Beck.

Among the cars targeted? An unmarked Tallahassee Police car. The Leon County Sheriff's Office says burglars took a police duty belt, two glock handguns, a taser, a bullet proof vest and more.

The belt and one of the guns have been recovered, LCSO spokesman James McQuaig said, but the other weapons are still missing.



UPDATED
April 17, 2014, noon
By Julie Montanaro

Arrest papers say as many as ten teens were involved in break ins in Killearn, Eastgate, Buckhead, Cameron Chase and more.

Tallahassee Police say some of them are affiliated with a local gang.

One teen was charged with 22 car break ins. Another teen said he couldn't remember streets or addresses because he was high on a drug called "mollie" at the time.

Several guns were stolen in the car burglaries including one from an unmarked police car.


UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro
April 8, 2014

It's called car hopping and it may be coming to a neighborhood near you.

Tallahassee Police and Leon County Sheriff's Deputies say in the past two months they've worked nearly 400 car burglaries and they say folks are making it easy.

"Simply walking from car to car in the neighborhood, going from driveway to driveway, pulling on car door handles until I find something that I like... take out the cash as fast as I can and I'm literally gone within 10 seconds," TPD Spokesman David Northway said.

It's just that easy.

No broken glass, no forced entry and usually very little left in the way of fingerprints and DNA

It's called car hopping.

There have been 398 of those burglaries in Tallahassee and Leon County in the last two months.

"If you pull on 300 car doors in the nighttime, and you only get 10 to open, that's 10 burglaries that you can commit very very quickly," Northway said.

Here's a look at the car-hopping hot spots in the last week.

There ha've been several In Cameron Chase including on Aqua Ridge and Dry Creek Run, more across the street In Buckhead on Hedgewood and Sparrow Hawk, In Killearn, they've hit on South Shamrock and Kilmartin Lane, across town on Crestwood Drive and Sierra Woods Trail and more on Southhampton and Summerdale

"They're taking mostly electronics, loose change, gun - people leaving guns in their vehicles unlocked...you name it. If they're leaving it, they're taking it," LCSO Detective Torrance Henderson said.

Investigators say most of the break ins are discovered in the morning, when folks get in their cars to go to work. The easiest way to avoid getting on that list, they say, don't leave valuables in your car and always lock the doors.

Two other tips to avoid trouble:

Make sure your unlocked car does not have a garage door opener inside. Deputies say that can give crooks easy access to your garage and home as well.

Check your owners manual in the glove box to make sure there is not a valet key inside. Investigators say burglars are taking those and stealing the cars themselves.


News Release: Leon County Sheriff's Office

Over the past two months, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Tallahassee Police Department have received 398 vehicle burglary reports (LCSO-168 and TPD-230). In almost all of these cases, the suspects entered unlocked vehicles and removed valuables such as electronics, money and firearms.

LCSO and TPD are urging citizens to always lock vehicles and remove items such as cell phones, computers, GPS units, purses and any other valuables. Also, make a list of the valuables you travel with and be sure to record the make, model and serial numbers of these items. If you discover that you have been the victim of a vehicle burglary, contact your local law enforcement as soon as possible without disturbing any possible evidence.

Both the Tallahassee Police Department and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office are working together, following up on investigative leads, conducting interviews and collecting evidence in order to locate those responsible for these incidents.

Anyone with information about these crimes can contact TPD at (850) 891-4200, LCSO at (850) 606-3300 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 574-TIPS (8477). Remember, Crime Stoppers does not want your name, just your information. You could be eligible for up to a $1,000.00 reward


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