For Justin Aldrich, it was the second alleged burglary in five days, and the second arrest in five days.
Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies got alerted to a possible burglary at 3 Louisiana Drive in Palm Coast just after midday Saturday (July 27). Rushing there, a deputy found a red 2007 Dodge Nitro in the driveway of the residence.
As the deputy was approaching the vehicle from the back, he spotted a white man, bare-chested and wearing red gloves, “cross the front portion of the vehicle from the 1/4 side of the residence.,” according to the deputy’s report. The deputy, Robert Lentino, had his gun drawn and was giving the man verbal commands from from behind the vehicle.
The man was Justin Aldrich, a 41-year-old resident of 269 Beachway Drive in Palm Coast who until Saturday had no imprints in the county’s judicial or jail records. But he’d been arrested just last week, on July 22, in Volusia County–on a burglary and grand theft charge, each a felony. He’d bonded out. It was his first arrest there. By day’s end Saturday, he had his first arrest in Flagler, too.
Aldrich allegedly would not respond to Lentino’s commands to step away from the Dodge. Instead, he got in the car and tried to close the driver’s side door even as the deputy reports he “attempted to stop him from closing the door by placing my left hand on the base of the door. ”
As Aldrich began to accelerate in reverse, the deputy backed away from the vehicle and provided a description of the vehicle and partial tag to the 911 dispatch center. Aldrich sped off, going east on Matanzas Woods Parkway. Before long other sheriff’s units had eyes on the Dodge.
A deputy saw the Dodge exit 1-95 at Palm Coast Parkway westbound and set chase, with witnesses seeing the patrol car speeding significantly along the parkway by Boulder Rock Drive as the deputy attempted to carry out a traffic stop. The Dodge didn’t stop despite the deputy’s emergency lights and sirens.
“A brief pursuit was authorized due to the forcible felony (Burglary),” the arrest report states, but “the pursuit was terminated due to a concern for the safety of the public but a temporary tag was obtained, which was registered to Justin Aldrich.” (The Louisiana Drive house showed signs of forced entry: the back door’s glass had been broken.)
The vehicle tag was entered into the license plate reader system, which operates at key intersections in the city and has frequently been successful in detecting stolen cars or vehicles sought by law enforcement. The Dodge triggered a hit from Palm Coast Parkway. Fire Flight, the county’s emergency helicopter, launched from the county airport to assist in the search, quickly located the Dodge traveling west on Palm Coast Parkway.
The vehicle was observed pulling into the Palm Coast Post Office, where Aldrich got out of the car from the driver’s side. “Deputies then flooded the area and placed Justin under arrest without incident,” the report states. He was the car’s only occupant.
Lentino positively identified Aldrich as the man he’d allegedly seen in the L Section.
Aldrich was charged with burglary and fleeing and eluding law enforcement, each a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. He was booked at the Flagler County jail, where he remains on $25,000 bond.