PALM BEACH, Fla. - What started as a dramatic police chase through Palm Beach and West Palm Beach ended with officers arresting a man they think is responsible for a rash of burglaries in Palm Beach, including the theft of several sets of hurricane shutters.
Palm Beach Police arrested 46 year old Ross Edward Best around 9:30 Tuesday morning. It took Palm Beach Police, West Palm Beach Police and a landscaping company to catch him.
Workers from the landscaping company said they spotted Best snatching weed whackers and a leaf blower from one of the company's trucks on El Pueblo Road and called police.
"My guys actually saw the guy take this stuff off our truck," said Scott Lewis of Scott Lewis Gardening & Trimming.
Lewis's workers and police began following the suspect, who was driving a red Ford Excursion SUV.
Palm Beach Police said when they tried to stop it, the man took off down Poinciana and North County Road. They said he hit four cars and never stopped.
Paramedics rushed two people to the hospital. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. Officers say the Excursion smashed into the barricades at the Flagler Memorial Bridge before ending up on North Rosemary Avenue in West Palm Beach, where West Palm Beach Police were waiting.
"They cordoned him off as we were behind him," explained Palm Beach Police Sergeant Luke Pintacuda, "so he had to bail out. He just ran at that point and he had nowhere to go so we were able to apprehend him."
Police say Best has been seen frequently selling aluminum shutters to metal scrap yards.
Several sets of storm shutters were recently stolen from Palm Beach homes. Randy Hopkins’ house was one of them. "I'm very relieved. “It's not so much the cost of the shutters as the situation where you feel like you've been invaded and maybe this could happen again."
People in Palm Beach are hoping it won't happen again, including the landscapers who helped police get their suspect.
"We've been looking for people trying to steal shutters on the properties we serve," added Lewis. "I'm sorry there was an accident, but I'm real glad they caught the bad guys."
Palm Beach Police said Best is facing a multitude of charges including grand theft, burglary, fleeing police, hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. Police expect more charges to be filed against Best for hurricane shutter theft.
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