A carjacker got in the car, but a 9-year-old in the back seat refused to get out

Thomas White
Thomas White Provided photo

A convicted felon is facing charges after deputies say he stole a car at gunpoint from a Sarasota Lowe's with the victim's 9-year-old daughter still inside.

Thomas Dustin White was arrested Saturday evening and charged with carjacking, kidnapping, grand theft auto, burglary and two counts of resisting arrest, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. As of Monday morning, he remained in custody at the Sarasota County jail and was being held without bond.

White, 31, is facing additional charges from the sheriff's office and the Sarasota Police Department.

Just before 5 p.m. Saturday, deputies were called to a Lowe's, 5730 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, to a report of an armed carjacking, according to an arrest report. The victim told deputies he was loading mulch into his car while his daughter was sitting in the back seat and the suspect climbed into the driver's seat of his Chrysler 300 and drove off.

White told the 9-year-old girl to, "Get out," she later told deputies, but she shouted at him, "No this is my daddy's car, " which angered White. As he drove away, he continued to yell, "Get out," to the girl, so in fear for her life she jumped out of the moving car and landed on the pavement.

Moments after a be-on-the-lookout-for alert was sent to law enforcement, a deputy spotted the stolen car pulled over on the side of Palmer Boulevard, according to the report. When the deputy approached the car, White sped off.

A pursuit ensued, but the car was ultimately stopped at the intersection of Cattlemen Road and Bee Ridge Road after a deputy deployed stop sticks, which blew out two of the car's tires. As the deputy attempted to block the driver's door with his patrol vehicle, White jumped out of the car and the deputy was unable to stop before crashing into the open door.

White ran across a parking lot into the take-out entrance of a Chili's restaurant, deputies say, and then ran out the front door. The deputy eventually grabbed White by his shirt, and White fell and was ultimately handcuffed.

Witnesses later reported that White had driven to the Lowe's in a grey 2018 Hyundia Santa Fe that was reported stolen out of Sarasota. When interviewed by detectives, White admitted to having stolen the two vehicles and planned to sell one in order to buy drugs, according to authorities.

White was released from prison in October 2016 after serving nearly three years of a four-year sentence for five counts of trafficking in stolen property, five counts of providing false ownership to a pawn broker, one count of burglary and one count of grand theft.