A Fort Lauderdale car theft suspect led deputies on wild chase to a Franklin Park apartment, where a family let him shower and hide out in bed with their children to elude capture – even though they didn't know him.
Dwayne Dwyer showered off, tucked himself into bed with three small children and nodded off to sleep.
But the cozy domestic scene was a ruse. The home wasn't his, the kids were strangers, and Dwyer only pretended to be asleep.
An admitted gang member, Dwyer had just led deputies on a berserk, two-hour chase involving a stolen SUV, a mosque, a fake machine gun and a large log. With the help of cooperating strangers, he almost got away.
Dwyer, 19, now faces eight counts ranging from car theft to driving without headlights, and is being held in lieu of bonds totaling more than $15,000.
"It's just incredible," Circuit Judge Stacy Ross said at a Thursday bond hearing. "The police report reads like the script of a movie."
That report, by Broward Sheriff's Deputy Ian Sklar, begins when Dwyer was spotted driving a stolen silver 2005 Toyota Sequoia in the 2700 block of Northwest Ninth Street in Lauderhill shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday. Sklar hit his lights and siren. Dwyer fled.
"Dwyer drove with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons and property," an obviously startled Sklar wrote in a colorful report.
The deputy ticked off Dwyer's misdeeds: 1) exceeded speed limits. 2) ignored lane markers. 3) ignored numerous stop signs. 4) drove over and on sidewalks. 5) drove in front yards. 6) drove into fields. 7) drove into backyards. 8) turned off headlights to mask his escape.
During one off-road escapade, Dwyer careered over a large log, damaging the car's undercarriage. He then jumped out, but not before throwing the car in reverse. The open door of the driverless car smashed into the front bumper of Sklar's squad car, cracking it.
Brandishing a machine gun — it was later determined to be fake — Dwyer refused to surrender, fleeing instead into a housing project. He hid on the roof of the nearby Masjid Al Iman mosque, where Sklar's police dog, a Dutch shepherd named Bandor, flushed him out. But Dwyer wasn't ready to give up.
"In an incredible and unbelieveable feat of daring," Sklar reported, Dwyer took a running start and leapt off the roof and over a razor-wire topped fence into the Madison Apartments in the Franklin Park neighborhood of unincorporated Broward.
He ran two blocks, and burst into the apartment window of a family "all too eager to assist this fleeing felon elude authorities," Sklar wrote.
"The residents at this apartment did not know Dwyer, but that did not deter them from hiding this fugitive," the deputy said. "The residents of this apartment allowed him to take a shower and climb into bed with three small children, pretending he lived there."
Sklar recognized Dwyer, who was feigning sleep. When confronted, Dwyer "openly and freely admitted his crimes," and even confessed to being a member of the Parkway Goons gang, Sklar said.
"Dwyer is an incredible danger to society," Sklar wrote.
Dwyer was born in Jamaica, cuts hair at his Fort Lauderdale home for a living and has a juvenile criminal record. He was charged with grand theft auto, criminal mischief, carrying an electric weapon, resisting an officer, refusing to stop when ordered, driving without headlights, driving without a driver's license, and reckless driving.
His pursuit involved more than 40 deputies and the sheriff's helicopter, which tracked him to the mosque roof and the accommodating apartment.
"This chase endangered police and everyone in his path," Judge Ross said, ordering him held on bonds totaling $15,825.
In court, an assistant public defender said Dwyer has no money, but his pregnant girlfriend will likely bail him out.
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