WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — In what must be the most ‘Florida’ arrest of all time a Walton County Sheriff’s deputy used a personal watercraft to corral a burglary suspect who was trying to dog-paddle away from justice.
On Friday, deputies responded to Shore Drive in Miramar Beach following an anonymous tip that Clyde Merrill Hunter had been staying there for more than a week.
“While on the scene, deputies recovered numerous stolen tools outside the residence and inside the back bedroom where he was staying. Additionally, vessel registrations to two stolen wave runners out of Okaloosa County was found in a bag under Hunter’s clothes,” deputies wrote in a news release. “Hunter was spotted fleeing the area by deputies who tracked him to Cessna Park on County Highway 393 riding one of the stolen wave runners. He got off the wave runner and made it onto the boat ramp when he was approached by deputies.”
Hunter ran away and attempted to swim away but was arrested, “after a deputy jumped on the jet-ski and guided him back to land,” deputies wrote.
The sheriff’s office released a video of the incident that appears to be footage from a deputies body camera mixed with footage from bystanders. At one point a deputy shouts at Hunter, “Hey, I’ll keep putting you in jail baby, keep up.”
Hunter, who had an active felony warrant from Walton County for grand theft auto, was just released on July 23rd after recently being charged with several vehicle burglaries, armed and unarmed, theft of a firearm, and theft of several motor vehicles, deputies wrote.
Hunter is charged with grand theft auto, violation of felony probation, possession of burglary tools, obstruction, burglary, and grand theft.