JENSEN BEACH, Fla. - The Michael Shields fishing tournament is a community favorite in Martin County, raising up to $40,000 to benefit children at the Boys and Girls Club.
Early Sunday morning, after the tournament and parties had ended at River Palm Cottages in Jensen Beach, deputies stopped a suspicious looking pickup truck parked nearby.
"It was parked partially in the middle of the road, headlights were off and the driver's doors were open," said Lt. Cedric Humphrey of the Martin County Sheriff's Office.
The pickup took off, heading west on Dixie Highway. The deputy followed, reaching speeds of 70 miles an hour along narrow winding roads.
Near the intersection with Seahorse Lane, the truck skidded off the road. According to sheriff's reports, the deputy approached the truck. When he was just 2 feet away he says the suspect stepped on the gas and headed right toward him.
"The deputy stated he was in fear of his life," said Lt. Humphrey.
The deputy pulled his gun and fired four shots at the truck, but that didn’t slow it down.
As it took off down the road, a large flat screen TV fell out of the back of the truck. The TV, deputies learned, was stolen from the charity fishing tournament, along with two mounted fish.
The suspect sped down a side road, barreled through a fence and into parked truck on NE Ida Place.
A neighbor saw the suspect try to hide the stolen fish mounts in the woods before he ran away.
"These people out here are really working hard and spending their money to generate money for the Boys and Girls Club and we have someone come in and depriving them of their money and violate them like this... we take this seriously," said Lt. Humphrey.
Deputies say they've identified the suspect and they are getting a warrant for his arrest.
Anne McCormick, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Martin County, called the break-in "an isolate incident, unrelated to our event."
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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