"Extremely violent" crime spree suspect caught in Lee County
Fox 4 News Staff
Suspect caught after violent deadly crime spree in Lee CountyPhoto: Video by fox4now.com
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Multiple law enforcement agencies in Lee County say they have the man responsible for a violent and deadly 9 day crime spree. 29-year-old Antonio Thomas faces charges including kidnapping, rape and murder.
"This is a vicious killer who ravaged innocent victims in the community," said Sheriff Mike Scott at a joint news conference Fort Myers Police Chief Doug Baker and Cape Coral Police Chief Jay Murphy. Sheriff Scott called the arrest a unified effort among the agencies.
Detectives have pieced together the rash of violent crimes:
June 13: Attempted carjacking at a 7-11 in North Fort Myers. Fortunately the female victim fought off the attack and escaped.
June 15: Detectives say Thomas carjacked a woman in North Fort Myers and beat her severely. She was able to jump out of the moving vehicle and escape.
June 20: Detectives say a woman was discovered beaten, raped and murdered behind an auto parts store in North Fort Myers. Detectives say Thomas is responsible.
June 22: Detectives say Thomas broke into a home in the Dean Park area of Fort Myers and beat and stabbed a woman before stealing her car. Thomas is then accused of abducting a 15 year old girl several miles away and forcing her into the vehicle. Fortunately, she was able to escape.
Veteran sheriff's detective Bill Kalstrom says the violent crime spree is "nothing that we've ever seen" in Lee County. Detective Kalstrom says he's convinced Thomas would have killed his other four victims had they not escaped.
Sheriff Scott says all the victims were random, which makes the crimes even more chilling. But the sheriff says with the arrest of Thomas the community can rest easier tonight. "He's caged like an animal," says Sheriff Scott. "He's not going anywhere."