Owners of a Haines City car dealership are learning just how much it pays to be kind, after a car thief was busted by the very K-9 they donated to police.
According to Haines City Police, around 2 p.m.Tuesday afternoon, 36-year-old Hugh Stewart of Davenport stole a car from Miracle Toyota.
“The guest said, ‘Hey, I have a friend that has vehicle very similar to this that has remote start. Can I borrow the key fob to check the remote start out?’ At that point our sales person walked around to the passenger side and as he was just about to get to the door, my understanding is, he heard a noise on the door, which was the customer locking the door,” Miracle Toyota employee Al Gerber told WFLA.
“At that point the guest took off with the vehicle.”
The suspect led Haines City police officers and Polk County deputies on a high-speed chase through Haines City and Davenport. Eventually the suspect drove over stop sticks, and a deputy was able to stop the vehicle with a PIT maneuver.
Police said the suspect would not get out of the vehicle so they released Haines City K-9 “Tundra” to apprehend him.
“The ironic twist is our K-9 named Tundra was donated by Miracle Toyota and did the final take down of the suspect,” said Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky.
“I thought it was awesome and ironic all at the same time,” Gerber said.
The suspect is no stranger to the law.
“He is a frequent flyer. He has 60 pages of criminal history,” Chief Elensky said.
“He also has a warrant out of Volusia County for Grand Theft Auto and is on probation for Grand Theft Auto.”
Stewart is being charged with Grand Theft (Auto) (Felony), Criminal Mischief (damage to vehicle over 1k which is a Felony), Fleeing to Elude (Felony), Resisting Arrest, and Violation of Probation.