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Burglar gets caught after multiple robberies

Suspect drove into closed businesses

DELAND, Fla. – A man who is accused of smashing vehicles into closed businesses was arrested Thursday, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's office. 

Justin Maurelis, 28, from DeLeon Springs is accused of committing multiple robberies since Nov. 2.

Maurelis smashed his maroon minivan into Saxon Corner Store early Thursday morning in Deltona, deputies said. Surveillance video showed the suspect leaving the store with a display case with lottery tickets inside.

Officers arrived at the scene of the crime after the robbery, but received a lead on the suspect when the Florida Highway Patrol reported a maroon minivan speeding on I-4.

Maurelis did not stop for police and kept driving, according to the news release. Police said after a chase, the driver left the car and ran away by foot.

Police said they found Maurelis in a water-filled ditch with the help of the Daytona Beach police K-9 team. 

Maurelis is linked to three other robberies, including the Hontoon Convenience Store on Old New York Avenue, B.J. Phelps Pawn Shop in DeLand and Citgo station in DeLeon Springs. In all three instances, Maurelis is accused of smashing a vehicle into the store and then stealing merchandise from inside.  

Maurelis is charged with grand theft, criminal mischief and burglary. Police arrested another person, Matthew Herndon, 27, from Pierson is charged in the Hontoon Convenience Store robbery on Nov. 2.