HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 16-year-old in connection with a stolen ATV and UTV, which were later used to drive over rows of soon-to-be strawberries at a local farm.
On October 21, 2020, deputies responded to an undisclosed residence on Bethlehem Road in Dover in reference to a stolen ATV. They discovered tire tracks at a nearby strawberry field, leading out to the road. The suspect(s) fled south on Bethlehem Road.
A UTV was also reported stolen that same day from a home on Sydney Washer Road in Dover. The suspect(s) later took both the stolen ATV and UTV to vandalize Astin Farms, located at 3610 Holloway Road in Plant City. They drove through rows of what would be strawberries in the coming months, causing approximately $3,000 worth of damage.
Deputies were able to locate the stolen ATV at another residence on Calhoun Road in Plant City. William McDougal, 16, was inside the home and confessed to stealing the vehicles. He also admitted to driving into Astin Farms. Deputies are working leads to identify and locate at least two other suspects at this time.
“Through investigative measures and help from technology, our deputies were able to make a quick arrest on this suspect,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “This individual not only stole from innocent victims, but he also put the livelihoods of farmers in jeopardy for his selfish actions. October is a critical month for strawberry farmers who are just putting seeds in the ground for harvest later this year and into next year.”
This is not McDougal’s first run-in with law enforcement. On June 26, 2020, William McDougal, 16, forced entry into Collier’s Mower Repair, located at 1416 Florida Avenue in Seffner. There, he removed cash from the register and the DVR used for surveillance video, which together, was an estimated value of $390.00.
About a month later, on July 27, at approximately 2:00 a.m. McDougal and an unidentified suspect unlawfully entered the victim’s detached barn door in Dover. They removed three dirt bikes and two chain saws, valued at approximately $4,500.00. The victim caught the duo in the act, and McDougal and his accomplice fled from the scene.
Later that morning, McDougal forced entry into Parkesdale Farms, located at 3914 Tanner Road in Dover. He, along with an unidentified suspect, covered their faces in an effort to conceal their identities with jackets from inside the venue, broke a surveillance camera and stole a John Deere Gator HPX ATV. The vehicle is valued at approximately $4,000.00. Surveillance video of the incident can be viewed here.
Then, during the early morning hours of July 29, McDougal entered a closed barn in Dover. He took three dirt bikes, lawn equipment, tools and a mountain bike. The total value of the items stolen was an estimated $7,850.00.
During the overnight hours of July 29-30, McDougal and an unidentified suspect took a Yamaha YZF R3, valued at $10,000.00 from the victim’s driveway in Seffner. In an effort to start it, the duo damaged the ignition.
McDougal’s last stop on his burglary spree was on July 30, where he dismantled the Seffner property’s surrounding privacy fence and gain access to the victim’s Polaris ATV. Using a screwdriver, McDougal was able to start the ignition and take the estimated $12,000.00 vehicle. He damaged the ignition on that ATV and another, but was unable to start the latter.
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