Police: ATM burglars part of a crime ring

When a group of burglars broke into an Eglin Federal Credit Union ATM on Navarre Parkway last week they had no idea what was awaiting them. The four black male suspects were apprehended on multiple charges stemming from a burglary ring involving the theft of safes and ATMs.

Investigators from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and Pensacola Police Department, working with the State Attorney’s Office, had been closing in on the suspects for six months, according to a release from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Shortly after midnight Nov. 24, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office patrol units and SWAT team members mobilized at 8540 Navarre Parkway, the location of an Eglin Federal Credit Union ATM.

Police observed three suspects breaking into the building, according to the release. The driver, 55-year-old Johnnie Lee of Cantonment, remained outside with a vehicle and sped off during the apprehension, ramming an Escambia County vehicle. Lee was immediately taken into custody.

Meanwhile, Santa Rosa patrol units and SWAT members surrounded the building. The other suspects were hiding inside the ceiling. One fell through the ceiling tiles onto the floor, and he was immediately taken into custody. The other two suspects were eventually captured.

There were no injuries to suspects or deputies during the incident.

Police arrested Markett Simpkins, 43, homeless, from Pensacola; Donald Robinson, 45, 222 N. Madison Drive, Pensacola; Noral Scott, 52, 803 N. 47th Ave., Pensacola; and Lee, 503 Irene Lane, Cantonment, on charges of

burglary; criminal mischief – property damage more than $1,000; conspiracy to commit first-degree felony burglary; and possession of burglary tools with intent to use.

Lee was also charged with impairing a dwelling to further burglary, eluding an officer and aggravated battery for fleeing in the vehicle and using it as a deadly weapon. He is being held at Santa Rosa County on $270,000 bond.

Simpkins, Robinson and Scott were also charged with resisting an officer without violence and are being held on a $256,000 bond.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating similar cases in the county and anticipate more charges.

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