EXCLUSIVE: Couple catches theft suspects in the act, 1 arrested, 3 others sought

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – What was supposed to be a nice, relaxing Saturday turned into quite the chaos for a local couple.

On Saturday morning, Amanda Campbell was riding horses but was quickly interrupted when she looked towards her car.

“I leapt off of a horse. I saw someone. I gave this horse to the nearest person and sprinted down the driveway as fast as I could,” Campbell recalled.

When she arrived at the driveway, her and her husband, Nick, found a rented Chevy Tahoe with three men and a woman who had snuck onto the private equestrian property.

Hillsborough County deputies say two of those men quietly broke into empty cars and rummaged through purses and consoles. When they were discovered, they tried to escape through the same gate they came in, not realizing they needed a code to get out.

“Just frantic… I mean, these people were just like, the gate won’t open. Now what?”

Nick was able to snap a few clear and close pictures of the suspects.

“I was like, I’m going to take pictures. I’m going to get as much evidence as I can,” he said.

The suspects ended up jumping the fence, leaving behind their SUV.

Nick took off after the man later identified by deputies as 52-year-old Gabriel Ahumada-Merino.

“Sir just stop. I’m on the phone with the police. They’re going to be here. Just stop running. He just kept moving,” Nick said.

While impressed with her husband’s ability to follow after the suspects, she isn’t impressed with the group who failed to have a getaway plan.

“They weren’t the smartest criminals, but are there smart criminals?” Nick asked.

“There are, but you talk about them less probably,” Amanda laughed.

Gabriel Ahumada-Merino is charged with burglary of an unoccupied conveyance.

Deputies are still looking for two men and a woman.

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