Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Search Unites Neighbors Arlington Group to Fight Crime

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Search Unites Neighbors Arlington Group to Fight Crime

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessie-Lynne Kerr, Times-Union staff writer

Residents of an Arlington neighborhood were just starting to organize a Neighborhood Watch when a car thief forced them into immediate action.

Neighbors in Seabrook Point along Seabrook Cove Road off the Arlington Expressway helped police catch a car thief the night of May 5.

Foster H. Coker III, whose home is at the entrance to the neighborhood, said that about 9:30 p.m., his daughter saw a police officer with his weapon drawn run past their home.

Neighbors learned someone had tried to steal a car from the used car lot around the corner at 6200 Arlington Expressway. However, after a 45-minute search that involved a half-dozen patrol cars, including three K-9 units, and a police helicopter, the search was called off.

It was only then that the trail began to heat up.

As police were packing up their dogs around the corner on the Arlington Expressway, one of the neighbors spotted someone prowling in the shadows on Leonie Circle.

"He apparently thought it was safe to come out of hiding since the police had left the area," Coker said. "I went to see who it was, and when I was about 75 feet away, I got a good look at the man and saw that he matched the description given me by the police officer."

Coker told his wife and daughter to get the police officers while he detained the man, who was covered in sand and dirt from hiding on the ground in someone's yard.

"He tried to bluff his way past me, saying he was the neighbor who had called the police to investigate the car theft."

But Coker knew better.

"As we were in the process of assembling a Neighborhood Watch, I knew just about every resident in the area by sight," Coker said. "I told the man I did not believe him and challenged him to point out his home. He pointed out the home of my cousin. …

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