TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hernando County deputies arrested a woman who they said carjacked a female delivery driver and kidnapped a child Saturday morning.
Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said the driver was out of her car, making a delivery shortly after 10 a.m. when she was thrown to the ground by 41-year-old Breanne Lucey, who then stole her car with a 3-year-old girl still inside.
“That really made a very bad situation ten times worse,” Nienhuis explained. “Having that child in the car.”
Nienhuis said a deputy spotted the stolen vehicle on US-19 near the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park as it headed west on Cortez Boulevard toward the beach.
“[He] started to try to pull the car over,” Nienhuis said. “The car refused to pull over, was driving at a high rate of speed, crossing on a double yellow line.”
The deputy backed off and Lucey slowed down. According to the sheriff, the situation was not just a nightmare for the child’s caretaker but for law enforcement as well.
“We have to balance getting the care and the child back with getting the child back safely,” Nienhuis said.
The sheriff’s marine unit happened to be nearby, and set up a road block to jam traffic. According to the sheriff, by the time Lucey realized she was stuck, deputies got to the car and took her into custody. The child was then reunited with her caretaker. No one was hurt.
“It is really by the grace of God that nobody got hurt, including the 3-year-old,” Nienhuis said. “Because it was a recipe for disaster.”
This crime comes a month after attacks on two other delivery drivers in the Bay Area. A woman was assaulted in Tampa and a man was murdered in Holiday.
“They are at a little bit of a disadvantage because often times they’re going on streets they’re maybe not familiar with,” Nienhuis explained. “They’re not going to their house, they’re going to a stranger’s house, or drop something off.”
The sheriff said situational awareness for everyone, even on a Saturday, could keep you safe.
“This is a perfect illustration,” Nienhuis said. “You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings all the time, every single day, even in a neighborhood that I think is relatively safe.”
Nienhuis said the crime appeared to be a crime of opportunity.