By Ashley Cox

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– On October 1, 2021, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested three teenaged brothers: 14-year-old Adarius Valdez of Wauchula, 15-year-old Hasachi Thompson of Bartow and 18-year-old Malachi Thompson of Bartow for multiple car burglaries in unincorporated Lakeland where three firearms and multiple other items were stolen. Adarius and Malachi are prolific juvenile offenders, and at the time of the burglaries, they were on probation – Malachi for Vehicle Burglary and Adarius for Grand Theft.
Vehicle burglary suspects
“These two out of control juveniles are another prime example of the Department of Juvenile Justice not holding serious juvenile criminals accountable, resulting in more crime and more victims. When juveniles are not held appropriately accountable by DJJ, the juveniles believe they can continue to do what they like—their criminal conduct escalates in both number and severity. This makes our communities, citizens, and businesses less safe,” said Grady Judd, Sheriff

The three have been arrested and charged with a total of 304 crimes for the burglary crime spree.

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Malachi Thompson’s criminal history includes 9 previous criminal charges (5 of which were felonies) including Grand Theft, Loitering and Prowling, Vehicle Burglary, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Synthetic Marijuana, False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer. Malachi was arrested for:

Conspiracy to Commit Vehicle Burglary (F3) (19 counts)
Grand Theft of a Firearm (F3) (3 counts)
Petit Theft (M2) (13 counts)
Armed Burglary Dwelling/Vehicle (F1) (19 counts)
Possession of Burglary Tools (F3) (19 counts)
Use/Display of a Firearm during a Felony (F2) (1 count)
Loitering/Prowling (M2) (3 counts)
Wearing a Mask on the Property of Another (M2) (1 Count)
Resisting a Law Enforcement Officer without Violence (M1) (5 counts)
Interference with Custody of a Minor (F3) (2 counts)
Wearing Mask/Hood on Public Property (M2) (1 count)
Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure (F3) (1 count)
Unlawful Possession of 5 or more Personal IDs (F3) (1 count)
Carrying a Concealed Firearm (F3) (1 count)
Trespassing (M1) (3 counts)
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (M1) (2 counts)

Adarius Valdez’s criminal history includes 13 previous criminal charges including 7 vehicle burglaries and 6 thefts in Hardee County in 2020, which were merged into a single count of Grand Theft. He was sentenced to probation, and then, in August of 2021, he was listed as probation absconder and a juvenile pick-up order was issued for his arrest.

“Why isn’t this prolific juvenile being taken seriously by DJJ? Who is keeping tabs on him? What kind of ‘community-based care’ or program is he involved with? Is this care provider or program being held accountable?” said Grady Judd, Sheriff

Adarius was arrested for:

Armed Burglary of Vehicle (F1) (17 counts)
Attempted Armed Burglary of Vehicle (2 counts)
Conspiracy to Commit Vehicle Burglary (F3) (19 counts)
Grand Theft of a Firearm (F3) (3 counts)
Petit Theft (M2) (13 counts)
Trespassing (M1) (3 counts)
Resisting a Law Enforcement Officer without Violence (M1) (4 counts)
Loitering/Prowling (M2) (2 counts)
Possession of Burglary Tools (F3) (19 counts)
Unlawful Possession of 5 or more Personal IDs (F3) (1 count)
Carrying a Concealed Firearm (F3) (1 count)
Committing a Criminal Offense while in Possession of a Firearm (19 counts)
Wearing Mask/Hood on Public Property (M2) (1 count)
Wearing a Mask on the Property of Another (M2) (1 Count)

Hasachi Thompson’s prior criminal history includes a charge of Larceny Grand Theft for which he completed court ordered diversion. He also was charged with failure to appear in court. He was reported as a missing runaway in August of this year.

“When a juvenile fails to appear in court and runs away from juvenile supervision and there is no consequence, it encourages more criminal behavior. Some of these juvenile offenders are thumbing their nose at the system—there must be appropriate accountability in our juvenile justice system,” said Grady Judd, Sheriff

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Hasachi was arrested for:

Armed Burglary of Vehicle (F1) (17 counts)
Attempted Armed Burglary of Vehicle (2 counts)
Conspiracy to Commit Vehicle Burglary (F3) (19 counts)
Grand Theft of a Firearm (F3) (3 counts)
Petit Theft (M2) (13 counts)
Trespassing (M1) (1 counts)
Resisting a Law Enforcement Officer without Violence (M1) (5 counts)
Loitering/Prowling (M2) (1 counts)
Possession of Burglary Tools (F3) (19 counts)
Culpable Negligence (2 counts)
Unlawful Possession of 5 or more Personal IDs (F3) (1 count)
Carrying a Concealed Firearm (F3) (1 count)
Committing a Criminal Offense while in Possession of a Firearm (19 counts)
Wearing Mask/Hood on Public Property (M2) (1 count)
Wearing a Mask on the Property of Another (M2) (1 Count)

“These three brothers are have 24 previous criminal charges combined – and now they have been charged with an additional 304 crimes for this burglary spree. They’ve had numerous chances with probation and diversion programs. It’s time for the juvenile criminal justice system to hold them accountable for victimizing innocent, hard-working people. Because of my deputies’ great work, they were quickly taken off the streets before they could victimize anyone else. Also, for community members, it feels like I say this too often – please, lock up your belongings—don’t make it easy for these criminals to steal your hard earned property. An unlocked vehicle is an easy target.”   said Grady Judd, Sheriff

During the early morning hours of Friday, October 1, 2021, deputies responded to the Highland City area in unincorporated Lakeland to investigate reports of multiple vehicle burglaries.

With the assistance of PCSO K-9 deputies and the Aviation Unit, Malachi, Adarius, and Hasachi were found hiding in a large plant in a resident’s backyard. The three refused deputies’ commands and attempted to flee the area.

Hasachi struggled with deputies, breaking free before attempting to jump over a fence before being apprehended. Malachi and Adarius jumped over a fence and ran into another residential backyard. They were quickly apprehended.

Adarius admitted to deputies that he and his brothers had met up in Wauchula and planned to burglarize vehicles in the Highland City area. He also said he chose to be the look-out during the burglaries because he was already on probation for doing the same thing.

Deputies searched the suspects and recovered three stolen handguns, ammunition, credit/debit cards, identifications, and other stolen items.

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This investigation is on-going as it is possible more victims could come forward.