A 21-year-old homeless man has been charged with stealing three vehicles from gas stations near Washington Road at Interstate 20 this week and trying to steal a fourth from a Washington Road restaurant.
Police have been monitoring the area for the past two days after a rash of vehicle thefts.
On Friday, police saw Markeith Golphin, of Sylvania, Ga., walk through two gas station parking lots while on a cellphone and looking into vehicles parked at the pump. Police said he repeated the action over several hours.
When investigators tried to make contact with him, Golphin ran through Center West Villa Apartments, where he
was caught, authorities said.
Golphin, who had an active parole violation warrant, is charged with three counts of theft by taking motor vehicle and one count of criminal attempt theft by taking motor vehicle.
Police said a 1987 Chevrolet Silverado was taken Monday at Circle K at 2916 Washington Road, and a 2003 Ford F-150 was taken the next day from Circle K at 2999 Washington Road. In both cases the vehicle was left unattended with the keys inside while the drivers went into the store to pay for gas.
On Wednesday, a thief drove off in a 1987 Chevrolet Silverado that had been left running outside the second Circle K location while the driver went inside for a cup of coffee.
Police were called to Roadrunner Cafe at 2821 Washington Road on Friday after a 1987 Chevrolet Silverado left there overnight was found forced open, with the steering column and ignition damaged.