Carjacking suspect arrested following incident in church parking lot

SARASOTA, Fla. – August 17, 2015 – 3:15 p.m.

Sarasota Police Officers, working in conjunction with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, arrested a carjacking suspect after an incident in a Sarasota church parking lot Sunday morning.

On Sunday at approximately 10:30 a.m., Sarasota Police Officers responded to Crossroads United Methodist Church parking lot, in the 4700 block of North Tamaimi Trail, Sarasota, in reference to a carjacking at gun point. When Officers arrived, the victim told them she had just arrived to attend church service. When the victim started to open her car door, a black male grabbed her, told her not to scream and displayed a handgun. The suspect told the victim, "I don’t want to shoot you, just give me a hundred dollars, give me your wallet." The victim told the suspect she didn’t have a wallet. The suspect told her to get out of the car. He grabbed her cell phone and the car keys and fled the area.

At approximately 3:45 p.m., dispatch advised Sarasota Police that deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office found the stolen vehicle on at University Parkway and North Tamiami Trail. MSO deputies attempted to stop the vehicle. The suspect fled from MSO. MSO deputies stopped the vehicle in the 5000 block of Barrington Circle in Sarasota. Sarasota Police Officers arrived on scene and took over the carjacking investigation.

MSO advised the suspect threw the gun out the window during the chase. The gun was recovered and was discovered to be an air soft gun which resembled a handgun. The air soft gun matched the description of what the victim described.

Willie L. Pearson, 36, of Sarasota, was arrested. Pearson, who is a Sexual Predator, has been charged with Felony Carjacking with a Weapon. Pearson is being held at the Sarasota County Jail on $200,000 bond. The Sarasota Police Department thanks the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for the assistance in this case.

Willie L. Pearson

Willie L. Pearson