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Investigation results in arrests and recovery of stolen guns

Boca Raton, FL – On Monday, November 5, at about 8:00 a.m., based on information received from a concerned citizen, members of the Boca Raton Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit were conducting surveillance on James Lee Russell, a known felon, who was staying at the Plaza Hotel, 2901 North Federal Highway.

While watching Russell, detectives saw him cleaning what they believed to be a firearm. Sometime later, detectives saw Russell leave his hotel room carrying several items and get into a Ford F-150 pickup truck accompanied by two males and a female. The female, identified as Alma Westberry, got into the driver’s seat, Russell got into the front passenger seat, and the two males identified as Clinton Thomas and Adam Vitale, got into the rear passenger seat of the truck. Westberry drove north on Federal Highway, with detectives following. As they approached the Delray Beach city limits, detectives tried to initiate a traffic stop, but Westberry refused to pull over.

Delray Beach Police were notified. Westberry drove to Linton and Federal, where Thomas and Vitale got out of the truck and were taken into custody after a short foot chase. Officers from Delray Beach continued to follow the Ford truck until it eventually stopped near the intersection of Whatley Road and Lincoln Road. Westberry, who was now in the passenger seat, was taken into custody. Russell fled from the driver’s seat and was apprehended a short time later.

Boca Raton detectives saw a Sony Play Station 3 in the passenger compartment of the truck. Detectives interviewed all of the suspects, and one suspect told detectives Russell had stolen several firearms from a bar owner in Live Oak. Detectives contacted a detective with the Live Oak Police Department who provided information about a residential burglary that was reported on November 2, in which a laptop, Play Station, handgun, shotgun and four rifles were stolen. In addition, jewelry and medications were taken. When detectives searched the truck, they recovered three rifles, a shotgun, and several rounds of ammunition, as well as a Play Station.

Detectives charged Russell with grand theft, violation of probation in addition to several traffic violations. Thomas and Vitale were charged with resisting an officer without violence, and Westberry was charged with fleeing and eluding. The investigation is on-going and other charges may be forthcoming.

Arrested:

russell     thomas   vitale    westberry

James Lee Russell  Clinton Thomas    Adam Vitale         Alma Westberry
DOB 04/06/1980    DOB 10/26/1979  DOB 08/07/1980  DOB 01/18/1978
Jacksonville, FL     Delray Beach, FL  Boca Raton, FL    Live Oak, FL