Convicted felon arrested after fleeing from residential burglary in Lake Alfred

A convicted felon racked up 19 charges (9 felonies and 10 misdemeanors) on Sunday, October 4, 2020, after fleeing from a residential burglary and leading PCSO deputies and Lake Alfred Police Officers in a short pursuit.

According to his affidavits, around 6:40 p.m. that evening, Lake Alfred Police Officers responded to a burglary that had just occurred on Swoope Street in their city. They spotted the suspect as he fled from the scene into a wooded area. They also observed him throw down a handgun he had just stolen and then get into a gold pickup truck.

As PCSO deputies were responding to assist, a deputy sheriff saw the suspect truck near Lynchburg Road. He activated his emergency equipment to conduct a traffic stop, and the truck slowed as if to stop, but then accelerated and sped away. The truck fled from Lake Alfred, through Auburndale, and into the Inwood area of Winter Haven, sideswiping a car and two mailboxes (nobody was injured). Auburndale P.D. units also responded to assist, and deployed stopsticks in the roadway near Avenue Q NW and 42nd Street.

The suspect swerved to avoid the stopsticks and went into a grassy area, where it crashed into a reinforced steel cable. The rear of the truck went into the air during impact, and crashed back down onto the hood of a PCSO patrol car that was in pursuit of the fleeing suspect. Neither the suspect nor the deputy were injured.

The suspect, positively identified as 25-year-old Austin Westgate, jumped out of the truck and ran, but was quickly apprehended by deputies on Avenue O NW after a Taser deployment. Deputies found meth in the truck he was driving.

Westgate has been charged with the following crimes by two different agencies:
LAPD charges:
Armed burglary (F1)
2 counts Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (F2)
Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon (F2)
Possession of a firearm with an altered serial number (F3)
Resisting arrest (M1)
Battery (M1)
PCSO charges:
Fleeing to elude (F3)
Trafficking in meth (F1)
Possession of meth (F3)
Possession of paraphernalia (M1)
Keeping a vehicle for drug use (M1)
Resisting arrest (M1)
4 counts leaving the scene of a crash (M1)
Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (F2)
Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon (F2)
Possession of a firearm with an altered serial number (F3)
His criminal history includes 19 felonies and 10 misdemeanors, for charges such as armed trafficking in meth, possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed weapon, grand theft of a firearm, several burglaries, several grand thefts, possession of burglary tools, culpable negligence, possession of meth, petit theft, resisting arrest, and use of another person’s ID. He served three years in Florida state prison.

“This suspect has no regard for the law or human life. He’s proven that when he’s out on the street, he’s committing crimes. The cooperation and teamwork we have with all of the other law enforcement agencies in our county is top-notch. Together, we are keeping our citizens safe, and putting bad guys like Austin Westgate in jail.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

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