Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett carjacked: 2 of 3 alleged culprits arrested after 20-block pursuit

 
 
Sanford carjacking susperct / Headline Surfer®Carjacking suspect / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /
Jermine Jacques Horne, 18, and Damarcus Jesse Paige, 17 (l to r), are ailed on armed carjacking and aggravated assault charges in the 2:14 a.m. stealing of Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplet's Mercedes Benz crossover, which they crashed after trying to flee the cops
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

SANFORD, Fla. -- While two teens are in jail, Sanford cops are looking for a third allegedly involved in early Saturday's armed carjacking of Mayor Jeff Triplett when one of them asked him, "Got a light?" before sticking a gun in his face and threatening to kill him unless he handed his keys and wallet.

Triplett readily complied and was not hurt, but was shaken by the experience in the same city where Trayvon Martin was gunned down four years ago when he was in his first term as mayor, leading to the infamous trial and acquittal of murder charges against George Zimmerman at the nearby Seminole County Courthouse.

Triplett was leaving a friend's house, 110 Chapman Ave., when he was approached at 2:14 a.m. by three young-looking individuals, two of whom brandished handguns.

"(They) removed Mr. Triplett’s car keys from his person," Sanford police spokesman Ronny Neal said. "In addition, the unknown subjects stole Mr. Triplett’s wallet containing $300."

Sford cop car pursues carjackers / Headline SurferSanford mayor's wrecked carjacked Mercedes / Headline SurferA Sanford cop spotted the alleged carjackers after the Sanford Mayor relayed a description and after a police pursuit that lasted 20 blocks, the alleged thieves crashed the mayor's Mercedes, but were apprehended shortly after running from the vehicle.
 

Also contained in the wallet were Triplett's  Florida driver’s license, two credit cards, a bank card, and a City of Sanford Mayor’s badge. The armed assailants then drove off in Triplett's Mercedes Benz crossover.

Triplett then called 9-1-1, and within minutes of the crime, a Sanford cop spotted the car speeding away from the scene, and a 20-block pursuit ensued until one of the teens driving the mayor's vehicle crashed it before he and a second teen jumped out and ran. 

But with the help of a Seminole County Sheriff's Office helicopter and a Lake Mary Police K-9 dog, the older teen was apprehended a short time later and then a second teen as well. It is not clear if the third teen was in the car when it crashed and got away.

Suspects in carjacking of Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett / Headline Surfer®Based on the information provided by the mayor in describing his assailants and what occurred in the subsequent crash, Sanford cops were able to establish probable cause in arresting Jermine Jacques Horne, 18, and Damarcus Jesse Paige, 17.

The third subject has not been apprehended for his involvement in the armed robbery.

Both Horne and Paige were transported to the Seminole County Correctional Facility.

Horne was charged with carjacking with a firearm, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a minor. 

Paige was charged with the armed carjacking and the agg. assault with a deadly weapon.

Because he is nearly of age, Paige could be tried as an adult. Both could be looking at 30 years in prison if convicted of the violent felonies at trial.

After they were arrested, Triplett identified the two as the alleged gunmen at the Sanford Police station.

Both denied ever having weapons, but a stolen handgun was found inside the wrecked Mercedes, an arrest report said.

A written statement from the mayor to the press and the public was released by Sanford PD, which read: “Being a victim of a crime is unnerving, yet it was reassuring to witness both speed and diligence from the Sanford Police Department. It is disheartening when this type of crime takes place in the City of Sanford. I encourage the community, its businesses, and the Police Department to continue to work together and stop this type of violence.”

A written statement from the mayor to the press and the public was released by Sanford PD, which read: “Being a victim of a crime is unnerving, yet it was reassuring to witness both speed and diligence from the Sanford Police Department. It is disheartening when this type of crime takes place in the City of Sanford. I encourage the community, its businesses, and the Police Department to continue to work together and stop this type of violence.”

The Sanford Police Department is seeking help from the community with any information that could lead to the apprehension of the third subject.

Call Crimeline

Anyone having additional information is asked to contact Crimeline at 800 423-TIPS (8477) or visit www.crimeline.org. Calls made to Crimeline remain anonymous, and tips to Crimeline that lead to solving a felony case are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 dollars.

FAST FACTS: Bio of Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett

Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett carjacked / Headline Surfer®• Jeff Triplett moved to Seminole County in 1992, after graduating from Missouri Southern State University.
• He has been a community banker for 17 years, and he is currently the senior VP at United Legacy Bank. He is responsible for a multi-million dollar loan and deposit portfolio that consists of small business and commercial real estate holdings throughout Central Florida, with a primary focus on North Seminole County.
• Prior to being re-elected Sanford Mayor in November 2014, Triplett served as chairman of the Downtown Sanford Community Redevelopment Agency. During his time on the CRA board, the agency's accomplishments included: partnering with the University of Central Florida to bring a business incubator to downtown; completing a $4 million streetscape and roadway improvement plan on 1st Street; and creating a loan subsidy program that helps downtown building owners renovate their properties.
• Triplett also is the former chairman of the Seminole County Port Authority and the Sanford Chamber of Commerce and vice-chairman of the Sanford Airport Authority. He has also served on the board of directors of the Sanford Rotary, Sanford Main Street, the Seminole County Small Business Advisory Board and the Sanford River Rats baseball team over the years.
• Jeff Triplett and his wife, Brandi, married since 1996, have two sons, one who attends Goldsboro Elementary and the other who attends Seminole High School.
• Triplett was elected in November 2010 and re-elected in November 2014 for another four years.
 
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.