(May 22, 2015)- What started as an early morning crash yesterday turned into a big break in a string of NW Cape Coral burglaries.

Officers responded to the 1900 block of Chiquita Boulevard N. yesterday morning shortly after 5:00 AM where they found a 2012 VW 4-door overturned.  Witnesses said two occupants fled the vehicle on foot.  Officers set up a perimeter and attempted to locate the occupants but were initially unsuccessful.  Investigation revealed that the vehicle was involved in a hit and run crash at Mariner High School, damaging a gate, and the car itself had been stolen overnight.

Another officer remembered seeing that same vehicle parked near 1021 NW 10 Ave. earlier in the evening.  Officers made contact at that residence with Jeremiah Raski and another juvenile.  Evidence at the residence (clothing and shoes wet-to the touch and covered with sand spurs) suggested that the juveniles, unbeknownst to the parent at the residence, had been outside of the home overnight.  Investigators determined that these two, along with a third suspect, Clifton Dortch had been "car hopping" (committing auto burglaries, primarily of unlocked cars). While doing so, they stole the Volkswagen and wrecked it.

Cape Coral Police Department Investigative Services Bureau personnel were contacted and Cape Coral Police Department Property Crimes Detectives assisted with the investigation.  As the investigation unfolded, it became apparent that these subjects were connected to a rash of residential and vehicle burglaries that had happened in the NW Cape over the past week.  A Ping4 alert had been sent last weekend, warning residents to remove valuables and lock their car doors.

A search warrant was obtained for 1021 NW 10 Ave. and numerous items connected to multiple burglaries were located and collected by Detectives and Forensics.  All three suspects were taken into custody on the initial charges listed below.  Additional felony charges are pending.

ARRESTED: Clifton E. Dortch, Jr., B/M, DOB: 7/28/1999, of 1625 NW 17 Ter., Cape Coral, FL.
CHARGES: Burglary, Criminal Mischief (Over $1,000), Grand Theft.

ARRESTED: JUVENILE B/M
CHARGES: Hit and Run (involving damage to property), Driving Without a License.

ARRESTED: Jerimyah Raski, B/M, DOB: 05-06-1998, of 1021 NW 10 Ave., Cape Coral, FL.
CHARGES: Grand Theft (Auto).

Today, investigators continued the investigation, combing canals in the area for stolen items from the multiple residential and auto burglaries.  Divers were in the water for several hours pulling purses, laptops, and tablets from the murky water.

PHOTO:  Officer Christian Munoz-Luna surveys an area in a canal where electronics were just located.  (Photo Courtesy of Cape Coral Police Department)

PHOTO:  Officer Christian Munoz-Luna surveys an area in a canal where electronics were just located.  (Photo Courtesy of Cape Coral Police Department)

PHOTO:  Cpl. Howard Post assists another diver into the water and is about to hand him his flippers.  (Photo Courtesy of Cape Coral Police Department)

PHOTO:  Cpl. Howard Post assists another diver into the water and is about to hand him his flippers.  (Photo Courtesy of Cape Coral Police Department)

PHOTO:  Diver in the Water.  Cpl. Bob Slager conducts a grid search in a North Cape Coral canal.  (Photo Courtesy of Cape Coral Police Department)

PHOTO:  Diver in the Water.  Cpl. Bob Slager conducts a grid search in a North Cape Coral canal.  (Photo Courtesy of Cape Coral Police Department)

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CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341