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Armed Criminals Targeting Hernando, Sheriff Says “You are Playing with Fire”

HERNANDO – Violent criminals have targeted Hernando County residents and businesses in recent weeks and Sheriff Al Nienhuis says he’s got a message for those who arm themselves and threaten the community.

During an interview with reporters yesterday, Nienhuis reviewed several recent incidents where suspects were armed, and in some cases fired shots at citizens and law enforcement officers.

Nienhuis focused on eight incidents dating back to November of last year, where at least three Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputies were the target of various crimes.

The first occurred on November 25th, 2016 at the residence of a HCSO Lieutenant, where several juveniles attempted to break into his car on Hernando Beach.  Once the thieves realized who they were about to victimize, they quickly fled the area.

In a second incident a firearm was stolen from a vehicle at a residence on Cori Loop in Spring Hill.

Another incident made headlines on January 4th after several masked burglars stormed the Target Department Store on Commercial Way and stole several valuable electronics. That incident resulted in a high-speed pursuit through Hernando County and into Orange County, where it finally came to an end. None of the suspects involved were captured (Click for Original RNRF Report).

An attempted armed burglary of Shadow Hawk Inc. Gun Store on Beverly Court has Nienhuis “especially concerned,” after video surveillance showed three armed suspects casing the store, but left before breaking in. Nienhuis says one of the suspects pointed his firearm at the camera and it was found to be fitted with laser sights.

Last week RNRF responded to the area of Twigg Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd after reports that a Deputy had been shot at during a pursuit (Click for Original RNRF Report). The Deputy’s patrol car was struck but thanks to equipment inside the trunk the bullet was stopped. Nienhuis says it appears by the trajectory that the shooter was aiming for the driver. The investigation continues.

A Detention Deputy was the target of an armed vehicle burglary early Thursday morning in Spring Hill, after a lone-burglar shot the window out of his SUV and stole his firearm.

The very next day and around the same time in the morning, at least two suspects were caught burglarizing a vehicle on Danforth Road but fled when the resident confronted them. As they were fleeing, one of the suspects fired several shots at the victim (Click for Original RNRF Report).

Nienhuis believes most of these crimes are organized and from suspects who live outside of Hernando County. “Unfortunately we have intel that the group is fairly large so arresting one car full of people is not likely going to stop it,” Says Nienhuis.

Nienhuis fears that with criminals arming themselves, a serious incident involving injury or death is inevitable. Regarding the incident on Danforth Road, Nienhuis says “That individual needs to understand that they are playing with fire, and if they confront one of my deputies, and they’re armed, they better do exactly what the deputy says because bad things will happen.” He goes on to say “The fact that most of these criminal are 14, 15, and 16 years of age is immaterial… But I’m really scared to death that one of my deputies is going to have to take the life of a juvenile.”

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  • My oldest brother is a police officer, and about to retire. He is absolutely fed up with it, after years of dealing with the worst kinds of people, and I don’t blame him. He is an amazing person, always going out of his way to help others, is just all around kind hearted, and I hate to hear the stories he tells me at times, how people treat him, how he has been attacked, etc. I can not state enough how much garbage these poor people have to go through, I have never understood the anti police sentiment.

    Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 7:09 pm
  • btw….I second the stupidity of leaving guns in cars for easy theft. Civilian or not..dont matter. You have that gun for protection… I get it…but why have it easily stolen. For $100 you can secure that $500 handful of death from all but the most committed and prepared thief….why be easy prey. Heck ill even help anchor it in if thats the problem. If you carry, then carry..if not , secure it, part of the responsibility.


    Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 6:40 am
  • did this dumb f#$K say “Ban Hoodies” lmfao its winter jackass, its UNBELIEVABLE how retarded you are

    Monday, 23 January 2017, 8:59 am
    • Salute to ALL HCSO and especially Sheriff Nienhuis, they are out there daily for us doing a job that needs done. Its always the do nothings that hate.

      Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 6:05 am
    • And your in Fl tick turd your a punk dont think the should ban them just a$$wipes like you

      Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 7:01 am
  • If you * with my stuff or my family including my dogs,i will blow you away,i don’t give a * how old you are,,man or woman,ulgy or pretty..if you break the law on my property your * is mine..

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 3:34 pm
  • Detntion deputy, any leo & every citizen need to explain WHY THEY WOULD LEAVE LOADED FIREARMS IN VEHICLES. Now the general public is endangered by more stolen guns!!!
    ANY LEO WHO DOES SOMETHING SO STUPID NEEDS TO BE DISCIPLINED SEVERELY. Bet they’d remember to secure their weapons inside house very quickly. TOTAL IRRESPONSIBILITY.

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 3:10 pm

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 1:44 pm
    • I can’t believe people are trash-talking our Sherrif. His sincerity, transparency and visibility in the community is amazing. Having lived in New York and New Jersey, you’re lucky if you know the county sheriff’s name, let alone his strategy and budget plans. Hats off to Sheriff All

      Monday, 23 January 2017, 9:03 am
      • U mean shorts off,, since he wears them for a hat ?

        Monday, 23 January 2017, 4:58 pm
      • I agree 100%, having lived in the same area as well.

        Monday, 23 January 2017, 6:00 pm
    • I second that

      Monday, 23 January 2017, 2:23 pm
      • At Jimbo i 2nd that

        Monday, 23 January 2017, 2:24 pm
  • 3 shots at one by our shop that we called in this past week.

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 1:15 pm
  • Has anyone noticed they’re wearing hoodies in the surveillance photo?? BAN HOODIES, MAKE THEM USE PANTY HOSE OR PAPER BAGS !!!!
    TO Sharon Brandau, if these kids haven’t learned respect at home & you put them in military, what do you think will happen when a gun is put in their hands & they go AWOL ????

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 10:49 am
  • We Need To Take Lessons From Grady Judd And His Boys! They Don’t F**k Around In Their County.

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 8:25 am
    • Grady Judd is a joke & a media whore. If he put half the effort into fighting crime as he does appearing on tv, there would be no crime. He’s a wanna- be boss hog. U must be a descendant of the duke boys, maybe bo & Luke’s love child? Or uncle Jesse & cooter’s. either way POLK might as well be PORK county! If u run a red light Grady Judd will be on a special news flash on TV telling everyone what a scumbag u R, all with a snappy wit. True power mongrel

      Sunday, 22 January 2017, 9:10 pm
      • Hilarious. You are spot on.

        Wednesday, 25 January 2017, 8:20 am
  • juvenile or not, abide by the law or or face the punishment!

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 7:48 am
  • God Bless all law enforcement, and especially those targeted. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I was an administrative volunteer for this department and know what a great bunch they are. I truly pray they capture these law breakers without incident. It’s time to put these big brave kids in the military and teach them some respect.

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 5:53 am
  • I got a 45 with 9 very fast friends. I’ll protect my family without hesitation.

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 5:19 am
  • For those who leave there guns in autos and than have them stolen, six months in jail including the dumb
    LEO who fell victim. And for the sheriff, a twelve year old can kill you as easily as a sixty year old, game off, they need to be taken out without prejudice.

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 4:17 am
  • If they are old enough to shoot people they are old enough to get shot. Don’t feel bad if a juvenile is killed it gets them off the street to kill innocent people. Of course if they are black then it will portray racist and start riots even if they deserve it

    Sunday, 22 January 2017, 1:42 am
  • Seven crimes, zero perps behind bars. Hard to take this man’s tough talk seriously.

    Saturday, 21 January 2017, 11:31 pm
    • Has anyone noticed knee-high’s hair looks like an rear end on his head?? ( butt) JUST SAYIN’! ?. kind of like the joke “wearing it like a hat” or is that mandatory under trump now ??

      Sunday, 22 January 2017, 7:14 am
  • Well if you want to run with the big boys you better have runnimg shoes on because buck shot in the ass is not a good feeling.

    Saturday, 21 January 2017, 10:40 pm
  • you play stupid games you win stupid prizes.. set an example…

    Saturday, 21 January 2017, 9:22 pm
  • The LEO’s are bound by strict rules of engagement for various reasons. We civilians, not so much. Stay armed, stay vigilant and do not hesitate.

    Saturday, 21 January 2017, 9:15 pm
    • Spot-on.

      Monday, 23 January 2017, 5:58 pm

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