St. Johns Sheriff: Duval teens responsible for crime spree | News

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St. Johns Sheriff: Duval teens responsible for crime spree

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Many people move from Duval to St. Johns County for what they believe are better schools and safer neighborhoods.

However some of that crime may be crossing county lines now, according to some of the top law enforcement officials in the county. They are blaming a recent crime wave, including the murder of Carl Starke, 36, on suspects coming down from Jacksonville/Duval County.

The statements came from both the county's sheriff, David Shoar, and St. Augustine Police Chief Loren Luders.

"Our county has changed, unfortunately it's not for the better," Luders said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Shoar says there have been 4-5 incidents in the past week alone of car burglaries and thefts where the suspects arrested came from Duval County.

In one case, Shoar says they arrested six young suspects and charged five with car burglaries. Shoar says the suspects would steal cars in Duval County and drive them to St. Johns County to commit crimes.

In other case, Shoar says officers chased a stolen car with two suspects from Duval County, one escaped on foot with a handgun and police were lucky he did not fire before being caught.

Police say cooperation between the agencies in St. Johns County including the St. Augustine Beach police have helped solve many of these crimes."

When cases like this hit, there's no such thing as a sheriff's office, city police, and a Beach police," Shoar said.

The most violent example came, Shoar said, in the murder of Carl Starke. Shoar says the 36 year old autistic man was spotted in a Walmart parking lot by two suspects. Shoar says Starke was a "soft target" and the suspects planned to steal his car. They followed him to the Vista Cove neighborhood where instead of stealing the car, Shoar said they "murdered Carl in cold blood in our county."



Shoar says he spoke with the mother of one of the 16-year-old suspects, who told him "I lost my son to the streets years ago."

Police say residents should exercise common sense to protect themselves, like walking in pairs at night.

"What we are really trying to do is tell people to be aware of their surroundings," Luders said


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