Suspects in Fernandina Beach hit-and-run arrested in Jacksonville
Two suspects in a shoplifting incident that ended with a local man being hit by a car as they made their escape earlier this month were arrested Thursday afternoon in Jacksonville, according to Fernandina Beach Police Chief James Hurley.
Hurley said the suspects, Maurice Pitts, 24, and Erica Felder, 26, both of Jacksonville, fled on foot when detectives from the FBPD and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detectives approached them, but they were apprehended at the Town Center mall.
The car police believe was used in the crimes was also found in Jacksonville and impounded.
The FBPD had obtained warrants for the arrest of Pitts and Felder earlier in the week. The warrant for Felder was issued on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene. The warrant for Pitts was issued on suspicion of robbery by sudden snatching.
Hurley said his department began getting comments on the warrants as soon as the information was posted on a social media page.
“The pair now face new charges placed on them by JSO,” Hurley wrote in an email. “They are being held on the warrants and will be moved to Nassau County eventually.”
Fernandina Beach resident and business owner Jim Johnson was hit by the car as the suspects fled from the on-island Walmart store at 1385 Amelia Plaza on Friday evening, Feb. 1.
The license plate on the vehicle was concealed by a plastic bag at the time of the escape, according to witnesses.
Pitts had been confronted by at least one store employee as he made his way toward the exit. After he produced what appeared to be a bogus receipt, he “grabbed what he could from his cart and ran,” according to the police report, throwing the merchandise in the car before jumping in the back seat. The car, which appeared to be driven by Felder, then “sped off through the parking lot, hitting Johnson.”
Johnson was taken to Baptist Medical Center Nassau for his injuries and was later released.
Reached at Amelia Island Bait & Tackle on Friday afternoon, Johnson said the news of the arrests in Jacksonville was “fantastic. (Jail) is definitely where they belong."
... "Our Police Department did absolutely a fantastic job and our Fire Department and paramedics who helped me were awesome. And our community has also been so supportive. The support and caring my family and I have received has been awesome.”