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Turkey Creek resident arrested in connection with Columbia County robbery

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Caleb Bowers, 19, of Alachua, was arrested yesterday in connection with a robbery in Columbia County.

Deputies were called to Vegas One Casino at 4201 N U.S. Hwy 441 at about 5:00 a.m. on March 9 in reference to a robbery in progress. A deputy observed a gray 2008 Saab leaving the business and pursued the vehicle but did not turn on his lights. When he got close enough to read the plate, he called it in, and it was found that the tag did not belong to the vehicle; it belonged to a red 2015 Buick out of Orlando.

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The deputy then turned his lights on, and the Saab sped up, traveling southbound. The pursuit entered Alachua County on U.S. Hwy 441 at speeds reaching approximately 135 mph. The Saab turned onto CR 222 in High Springs, then turned right onto NW 176th Avenue and stopped after about 150 feet. The deputy saw a black male, dressed all in black, exit the passenger side of the Saab and run north between two houses. He also saw the driver door open, but he didn’t see whether anyone else left the vehicle because he was focused on the passenger. With the assistance of the High Springs Police Department, the vehicle was cleared, and a perimeter was established.

While clearing the vehicle, deputies found a loaded AR-15 rifle in the passenger seat, along with body armor containing rifle plates and a semi-automatic handgun on the back floor board.

It was determined that the Saab belonged to Caleb Bowers, who lives at 10619 NW 60th Terrace in Turkey Creek.

Bowers was located near a residence with the assistance of K-9 units, and he was detained and interviewed by a Columbia County detective. Bowers was wearing black and brown snow boots that had been observed in video footage of the robbery. During the interview, Bowers said that he had driven to the store that morning around 2:00 a.m., even though his license had expired (Bowers has multiple charges on his record of driving with an expired license, along with charges of firearm theft); he then called his girlfriend to pick him up and take him to his friend’s house. He then refused to say any more.

Deputies from both Alachua County and Columbia County obtained a search warrant last night to search Bowers’s house.