PALM HARBOR - Canine Unit Deputy Jacob Viano and his K-9 partner Chief apprehended a Tarpon Springs man March 15 after responding to a call about a vehicle burglary in Palm Harbor.
Viano, 40, who has worked for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office since Nov. 6, 2000, assisted by his K-9 Chief, arrested Justin A. Nicholas, 25 for five counts of attempted burglary, grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding, driving with a suspended/revoked driver’s license and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.
According to the booking report from the Pinellas County Jail, he also was charged with reckless driving, criminal mischief, possession of burglary tools, and loitering and prowling. Bond for the 12 charges adds up to $81,000.
Deputies responded to the area of Forest Grove Boulevard and County Road One about 3:09 a.m. A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office member, who lives in the area, was alerted to the activity by her dog barking. She observed the subject, later identified as Nicholas, fleeing from the area in a gray pickup. Through their investigation, deputies determined that Nicholas had attempted to enter at least six vehicles in the area.
Deputies began circling the area and spotted the gray pickup. When a deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop, Nicholas cut across County Road One, drove through a retention pond and crashed into a mailbox on Stonehenge Way.
He then exited the vehicle and fled on foot. Viano and Chief tracked Nicholas over several fences before finding him hiding under a vehicle on Saddle Drive. Nicholas was taken into custody.
The pickup truck he was driving was stolen from Tarpon Springs. The registered owner of the vehicle was notified.