Alert deputy catches burglary suspects

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - A Tuscaloosa County sheriff's deputy was praised Tuesday for his work in apprehending two men suspected of being involved in an area burglary.

In an email to FOX6 News, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department said an off-duty deputy was going home late Monday night when he observed a suspicious vehicle parked in a ditch near Lakeland Mini Storage on Highway 43 North near Lary Lake Road.  The deputy went home, got into his patrol vehicle and returned to look for the vehicle.  After driving around, he found the vehicle on Viewpoint Road.

The deputy said as he approached the vehicle with his flashlight, he noticed two men sitting in the front seat and a third in the back seat.  The driver raised his hands, but then sped off in the vehicle.  A short chase ensued until the vehicle struck a fire hydrant adjacent to Rose Blvd.  The driver then fled on foot, but the other two passengers were arrested.

Investigators later determined the suspects had burglarized a convenience store adjacent to the Lakeland Mini Storage and had returned to retrieve the safe when the deputy initially observed their vehicle.

"This was a fine example of the observation skills and the attention to detail by this deputy," Sheriff Abernathy said in the statement.  "He knew there had been burglaries at this business and surrounding businesses and was on alert for suspicious activity."

The suspects and investigation were turned over to the Tuscaloosa Police Department because the incident occurred within the Tuscaloosa city limits.