Early Tuesday morning Key West police caught five youthful suspected scooter thieves.
It started at about 6:30 a.m. when Key West police Officer Rich Thomas tried to stop a young man on a scooter weaving around on Whitehead Street. The suspect, Leo Edwin Haney, 15, of Cape Coral, dumped the scooter, which turned out to have been stolen, and ran. He was caught nearby by another officer. Haney was also suspected to have been involved in attempts to steal three scooters – their cowlings had been broken – at Garrison Bight, which was reported at 7:15 a.m.
That morning Officer Mario Torres heard on the police radio an alert for three people trying to steal scooters midtown. One was reported to be wearing orange clothing. A little later, at about 6:30 a.m., at Southard and Whitehead streets, Torres saw a young man in orange sitting with a young woman on a scooter with a damaged cowling. A metal paint scraper was in the basket.
Torres’ investigation revealed the pair, along with Haney, were the suspects in the scooter tampering at Garrison Bight, using the paint scraper to pry the cowlings. The scooter they were sitting on had been reported stolen. They said they were waiting for Haney, whom Thomas had just arrested. Torres arrested Adrian Thibaud, 16, of Key West, and Megan Burns, also 16, of Summerland Key, each for grand theft auto, possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief.
At about 1:30 p.m., Detective Bill Larkin stopped Alexi Mendez, 15, of Big Coppitt Key, and Alain Menendez, 14, of Stock Island, on Simonton Street on a scooter that had just been stolen from beneath the La Brisa condominium on South Roosevelt Boulevard. The two reportedly had slipped through a gap in the condominium’s fence and hotwired the scooter. Mendez reportedly had a handsaw in his pocket. Torres arrested each for grand theft auto and burglary, plus Mendez was charged with possession of burglary tools and Menendez with not having a valid driver’s license.