Two individuals arrested on charge of Attempted Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle linked to national trends of Dodge Challenger/Charger thefts, Sheriff’s Office reports

Value of Chargers and Challengers rising because they no longer will be manufactured

Payton Robinson (left) and Haley Aldridge were arrested on Nov. 14 Images courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has arrested two individuals — one from Tampa, one from Orlando — on the charge of Attempted Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle, the agency has announced.

“This incident correlates with ongoing statewide and nationwide trends of Dodge Challenger/Charger thefts,” a news release pointed out.

The suspects are Payton T. Robinson, 18, of Tampa, and Haley M. Aldridge, 20, of Orlando, the release added. The Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division records showed that Robinson was released on $1,500 bond on Nov. 14, while Aldridge  — who was wanted for a probation violation — was released on $15,000 bond a day later. They are scheduled for arraignment on Dec. 29, the Corrections records said.

About 3 a.m. on Nov. 14, the agency reported, a Sheriff’s Office deputy

“observed a gray Dodge Charger with its lights off traveling at a high rate of speed on Clark Road. The deputy pursued the vehicle” as the Sheriff’s Office simultaneously received a 911 call from the nearby BMW dealership, the release added. The caller reported that three suspects had broken into and attempted to steal a white Dodge Charger from the dealership’s lot, the release said.

Ultimately, the release noted, the vehicle pursuit was terminated because it had reached “dangerous speeds.”

The Probable Cause Affidavit for Robinson noted that the pursuit was suspended in the approximate vicinity of the 4700 block of Bee Ridge Road, after speeds reached 130 mph.

A short time later, the release continued, a vehicle crash involving a gray Dodge Charger was reported on Interstate 75 north of Clark Road. The caller reported seeing multiple individuals fleeing the scene, the release said. “With assistance from a Sarasota Police Department officer and his K-9, two of the three suspects were tracked and apprehended in the area,” the release added.

Robinson and Aldridge were found hiding in a plastic utility shed standing in the back yard of the house located at 5355 Camelot Drive East in Sarasota, the Probable Cause Affidavit pointed out.

Additionally, the news release said, Aldridge, who is the registered owner of the gray Charger, “was found to have violated probation from a previous robbery charge in Florida.”

“Dodge Challengers and Chargers have been targeted recently in local auto theft cases as these models will no longer be manufactured, making their parts more valuable,” the release explained. “The stolen vehicles are rarely recovered,” it pointed out, adding that the Sheriff’s Office has three open cases involving similar auto thefts.

“This investigation is active and ongoing,” the release said.

The Probable Cause Affidavit for Robinson reported that the person at the BMW dealership told deputies that the suspects “had attached a Florida license plate to the [white Charger on the lot] and smashed the rear passenger side window.” He added that he believed they fled after spotting him.

The affidavit said that the gray Charger had a Louisiana license tag, but a law enforcement database search found no criminal records linked to it.