It was 12:30 Friday afternoon when Krystin Skozylas, a 20-year-old resident of 56 Ethan Allen Drive in Palm Coast, pulled up to her house and saw something amiss: A yellow Ford Mustang with a paper license tag was parked in her front of the house. And a young man was running through her front yard to the car. Skozylas stopped her car and immediately yelled out at the man, asking what he was doing there.
“Tree service,” came the answer.
Skozylas didn’t believe him. The man jumped in the Mustang, which had another man in it—slinking low in the his seat so Skozylas couldn’t clearly see his face—and the pair took off. Skozylas briefly followed the Mustang down East Hampton Drive until she lost sight of the pair when they turned on Ethan Allen Lane. She was however able to note the first three letters on the paper license plate: AYE, according to a police report.
She realized her house had been burglarized when she noticed an Acer Aspire laptop missing, along with a 50-inch flat-screen Vizio television. The combined value of the two items is about $1,700. Skozylas’s boyfriend, Andrew Guiler-Shuman, 23, was not home at the time. He’d left at 11 a.m. But the back door to the house had been left unlocked. That was the point of entry of the alleged robbers, according to the police reports.
As a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office deputy was investigating the scene, another deputy spotted the Mustang traveling east on State Road 100, nearing Seminole Woods Parkway. The deputy was going in the opposite direction. As soon as the deputy turned around in the median, the Mustang accelerated and allegedly blew through the red light at the Seminole Woods Parkway intersection.
The deputy activated his emergency lights. The Mustang did not stop, blowing through another red light at Memorial Medical Parkway, then swerved off the road to avoid cars as it approached and took the on-ramp to I-95 south.
A chase was on. It didn’t last. The chasing deputy was advised to pull off as the Mustang headed into Volusia County, where Holly Hill and Ormond Beach police were alerted. The Mustang left I-95 at Old Dixie Highway, traveling into Ormond Beach, where another deputy followed the car until Grenada Boulevard, losing visual contact there.
It wasn’t long before the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office caught up with the suspects and arrested them in the Walmart parking lot on Nova Road.
They were Michael O’Hara Jones Jr., 18, of 1014 Lewis Drive in Daytona Beach, and Key’Shaun Ronald Eugene Martin Jr, 16, of 933 Derbyshire Road in Daytona Beach. Skozylas was able to identify Martin as the boy running through her front yard, but she could not give a 100 percent identification on Jones because of the way he’d been sitting in the car.
In custody, the two suspects either repeatedly gave detectives false information, according to the arrest reports, as to the whereabouts of the allegedly stolen property, or said they didn’t know what the detectives were talking about. On at least two occasions, police went looking for the stolen goods at two separate locations, based on what one the suspect had told them, only to turn up empty.
But a witness who lives on Southern Parkway in Ormond Beach, just off of Nova Road, told police that he’d seen a yellow Mustang speeding down the road, then stop, with a black male then getting out and walking into the woods while the other black male in the car was wiping down the inside of the yellow Mustang. As soon as the male who’d walked into the woods emerged from there, and noticed the witness watching him, the two individuals in the yellow Mustang sped off.
It was in those woods that a Flagler County deputy located a 50-inch flat-screen Vizio television and a laptop.
Both suspects were charged with burglary and grand theft and jailed at the Volusia County jail, where they remain on $15,000 bond. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.
“The homeowner proved to be a valuable resource, but we don’t recommend that civilians attempt to chase burglars,” Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre cautioned. “In this case, the victim got an excellent vehicle description and a partial tag number and she was able to give us a direction oftravel – all very important information.”