Burglary Suspect Captured After Short K-9 Track, Says, “Love you Mom” to RNRF Camera
UPDATE: 7/11/2017, 1:44 P.M. – According to an officials report, Hernando County deputies were dispatched to 9259 Chase Street in Spring Hill regarding a Residential Burglary in progress.
Upon arrival, deputies met with Trena Sapp, who advised that Michael Whittenbarger arrived at her home after being told several times not to come. Whittenbarger began banging on the door, demanding to be let in. When Sapp continued to deny Whittenbarger entry into the residence, he removed a window unit air conditioner and broke away portions of drywall and attempted to gain entry into the residence.
When Sapp and Jessica Leal (Sapp’s daughter) advised Whittenbarger that they were contacting law enforcement, Whittenbarger stated that he would slit his wrists. He then pulled an unknown object out of his pocket and held it to his wrist.
When Leal told Whittenbarger that law enforcement had been contacted, he fled from the residence on foot.
Deputies immediately set up a perimeter and called in a K-9 team to track the suspect. Deputy Jason Jernigan and K-9 Dzel arrived on scene and began tracking. The K-9 team tracked Whittenbarger west, then north, then west again, eventually to Geranium Avenue into an area thick with trees where K-9 Dzel located and bit Whittenbarger.
Whittenbarger was evaluated on scene by Fire/Rescue then transported to Oak Hill Hospital for treatment of dog bites. He was later transported to the Hernando County Detention Center.
While still on scene, deputies took possession of Whittenbarger’s personal property which included a wallet, a pack of cigarettes, and a razor blade.
A computer check on Whittenbarger revealed a Felony warrant for Violation of Probation (original charge – Aggravated Assault w/Deadly Weapon).
Deputies later learned that Whittenbarger and Jessica Leal (Sapp’s daughter) have a son in common. Whittenbarger arrived last month from Nassau County Florida and has been living with his grandmother.
UPDATE: 10:35 P.M. – According to the Hernando County Jail website, 20-year-old Michael Lamar Whittenbarger is charged with Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling, Resisting Arrest, and Violation of Probation. Whittenbarger is held without bond, due to the VOP.
SPRING HILL – A burglary suspect is in custody tonight after sources say he tried to break into a home located at the 9200 block of Chase Street.
There are unconfirmed reports that the suspect used a knife to make entry into the home but then fled when he realized the residence was occupied.
RNRF happened to be in the area as the first deputies began to arrive and establish a perimeter. K-9 units arrived shortly after and tracked the suspect westbound on Chase Street, until they located him hiding between two houses on the corner of Northcliffe Blvd and Geranium Street. The suspect quickly surrendered after one of the K-9 took a small bite out of his hip.
As the suspect was being escorted to the awaiting ambulance he looked at the camera and said, “Love you mom!”The suspect is expected to be booked into the Hernando County Jail on charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling after he is medically cleared at a local hospital.
We will update this story once the suspect’s identity and charges have been confirmed.
Live Video from the scene is available for viewing on the RNRF Facebook Page.
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