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DeSoto Sheriff’s Department
A report of an attempted vehicle theft lead Dep. 1st Class Laura Ullrich, Det. Santiago and Sgt. Bill Bevis to respond to DiMare Diamond D Ranch early Monday morning. While Dep. Ullrich spoke to the farm manager regarding the value and damage to the work truck (approximately $20,000), an employee told Det. Santiago that the suspect had run off into the woods along the west side of the farm.
The DCSO team decided to divide and conquer… Sgt. Bevis patrolled the western perimeter (in case the suspect had made it to the road). Sgt. Bailey responded to the scene and called in support from Manatee County Sheriff’s Office as the property abutted the county line. Det. Christian Friend and K9 Kita were called to assist in tracking the suspect. In the meantime, Sgt. Bevis followed a hunch and launched an inquiry with dispatch on an abandoned box truck which had been towed from a nearby location earlier that night/morning.
Sgt. Bevis discovered the box truck was outfitted with a GPS unit and had not yet been reported stolen from a business in Collier County. Meanwhile, with the help of K9 Kita and a farm employee, Det. Friend and Sgt. Bailey located the suspect, Samuel Marlowe Eckman, crouched in a drainage ditch. Deputies waded (and partially swam) to apprehend the suspect. A subsequent search found keys belonging to the box truck with the company tag still attached. The abandoned box truck was towed back to the Collier County company and Eckman was booked into DeSoto County Jail on charges of Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle, Burglary – Unoccupied Coneyance (Unarmed), Criminal Mischief ($1000 or more), and Resisting an Officer – Obstruction without Violence.
There’s no telling where Eckman was headed but one thing’s for sure, the truck stops here!