Polk County deputies have called off an intense search for an armed carjacking suspect who fired shots at a sheriff’s helicopter.
Deputies had set up a perimeter near Mammoth Grove Road and S.R. 60 in Lake Wales in attempt to take him into custody, but to no avail.
Several agencies worked this case, including the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Bartow PD, FHP, FWC, and Lake Wales PD. At one point, there were 50 to 100 law enforcement agents, searching hundreds and hundreds of acres of the orange grove next to the Saddlebag Lake Resort.
Deputies told people nearby to stay inside their homes and protect themselves. Residents are being warned to to vigilant and to call 911 if they see anything suspicious.
"He is considered extremely armed and dangerous. Folks should stay in their homes. (They should) protect themselves (and) keep their doors locked," Polk County Sheriff's Office Chief of Staff Steve Lester said.
They do not know who the suspect is or anyone who knows him. The only description given to them was by the people in Bartow during the armed carjacking. They said he was wearing a bright red shirt. He's believed to be in his late 20s to early 30s. He is a white male and medium build.
The carjacking occurred about 3 p.m. in Bartow. The suspect is accused of stealing a white Chevrolet 5500 dump truck.
According to Bartow Police Department, the suspect stole the truck in the area of Bay Street and Seventh Avenue while its driver checked the vehicle’s load.
The driver’s coworkers followed the truck, but the suspect pointed a gun at one of them and kept driving.
Deputies followed the dump truck east on S.R. 60 to the Mammoth Grove Road area. The suspect stopped and fired shots at the sheriff’s helicopter following the truck.
The stolen commercial truck was recovered in the Mammoth Grove Road area north of SR 60 in Lake Wales, according to police.