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Saturday, Jul 21, 2018
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Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tried to hide in a swamp until they were captured by two deputies and their K-9 dogs, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The driver, Thomas A. Nolasco, 21, and passenger Jonathan Gerardo Lozada, 19, were arrested without incident.

The incident started near Milagro Court and Blackjack Road in Dover about 1 p.m. A patrol deputy spotted the stolen vehicle and was turning around to attempt a traffic stop, the Sheriff’s Office said. Instead, deputies said, the stolen vehicle sped away and ran a stop sign.

Nolasco and Gerardo abandoned the vehicle near 3820 Lindsey St. and ran away, deputies said. They crossed through several back yards, including one with several dogs inside.

The dogs "confronted" the two men, deputies said, and one of them shot a dog. The dog hid under the house while Nolasco and Gerardo kept running. They eventually hid in a nearby swamp.

The pair were found by two deputies and K-9 dogs Bandit and Justice. Nolasco and Gerardo were arrested without incident, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Both men face charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle and resisting an officer without violence. Nolasco also faces three counts of violating his probation on past charges of carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a handcuff key and possession of controlled substances. He was being held Friday without bail in the Hillsborough County jail.

Lozada was wanted on arrest warrants issued in Hillsborough County for charges that include two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon; aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; carjacking with a deadly weapon; robbery with a firearm; discharging a firearm from a vehicle; and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was being held in jail in lieu of $804,500 bail.

The wounded dog was an American Staffordshire terrier mix named Roscoe. He was taken to the Hillsborough Pet Resource Center for treatment. Roscoe was in stable condition Friday and was kept overnight for observation by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

Deputies have not said which of the men shot the dog but did find a gun on them. The investigation is ongoing and more charges may be pending.

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