Suspected car thieves with an apparent liking for fitness centers are in custody after an employee of Planet Fitness in Pascagoula reported seeing a possible suspect from thefts at Planet Fitness in Ocean Springs.
The Georgia residents are in custody in Ocean Springs after a gray Mercedes reportedly fled from police and crashed Tuesday in Pascagoula. Ocean Springs police say two suspects are 19. The other two are juveniles.
Kimberly McRee, owner of All That Jazz in Ocean Springs, is one of the victims. She said she had placed her car keys on the key rack at Planet Fitness in Ocean Springs "just like normal" on Tuesday and got on a treadmill. She soon noticed police and a commotion.
Ocean Springs police had been notified of a car theft spree at the center in Ocean Springs, where police say three vehicles were stolen about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
"I thought maybe somebody had had a wreck outside," McRee said. "Maybe 15 to 20 minutes later, I went to get my car keys. They were gone and I realized I was the third victim of a car theft."
McRee said her 2004 Toyota Sequoia was stolen, along with her business debit card.
Police found her Sequoia and two other stolen vehicles parked behind the Family Dollar store, she said.
While police were at Planet Fitness, the suspects were across the street and using her debit card to buy $1,000 in gift cards at CVS, McRee said. One of the suspects had her wallet when they were taken into custody, she said.
"I heard the suspects have hit nine locations of Planet Fitness from Tennessee to all the way down here," she said.
About two hours later, an employee at Planet Fitness in Pascagoula called police, saying a possible suspect from the Ocean Springs thefts had shown up, Pascagoula Police Capt. Doug Adams said Wednesday.
Police were looking for a gray Mercedes with no tag when they saw a vehicle matching the description on the north side of Office Depot early Tuesday evening. Officers tried to stop the vehicle, but it fled south on the U.S. 90 Service Drive, Adams said.
The Mercedes struck a utility pole at Chicot Road and U.S. 90, and three suspects and then a fourth were taken into custody.
They were taken to the Ocean Springs Police Department, where investigators learned they had given Pascagoula Police incorrect names, Ocean Springs Police Capt. William Jackson said.
Jackson identified those charged as adults as Trebioun Juan Hunter of Douglasville, Georgia, and Shyceal Masean Best, of Powder Springs, Georgia. Both are 19 years old.
Investigators believe one of them bought the gray Mercedes from a "pay as you go" place, Jackson said. The car had a paper tag that didn't immediately match up to an owner, he said.
Police arrested Hunter and Best on three counts of auto burglary, three counts of motor vehicle theft and two counts of credit card fraud. The men were being held at the Ocean Springs jail pending an initial court appearance and bond hearings.
The juveniles, taken to the Jackson County Youth Detention Center, each face the same charges.
Police were getting a search warrant for the Mercedes on Wednesday. McRee said she hoped her car keys would be found in the Mercedes.
"This is recital week," said McRee, whose business sells dance clothing, shoes and accessories. "I don't need this."
Jackson said the investigation continues and other charges could be filed from other agencies in other states.