A generator theft spun into a two-county saga that involved two red Mercedes-Benzs and a suspect trying to flee Parkland in a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s patrol car.
Theft victim Hicham Taoussi prefers to sum it up this way: “It’s just a miracle from start to finish. It was just too much for coincidence.”
Ultimately, it was a stroke of luck and impeccable timing that led Taoussi, 41, to his stolen generator as he drove to the grocery store for bread. He spotted it in the trunk of a red Mercedes.
Authorities said Mathew Busse, 23, a passenger in the car, unwittingly struck a deal to sell Taoussi’s generator back to him.
Taoussi had reported that the generator and some tools were stolen from a barn on his West Boca property hours earlier.
At a traffic light, Taoussi asked the Mercedes driver where he’d gotten the generator and how much he paid for it.
The nervous driver said it wasn’t his and Busse, in the backseat, stuck his head out of the window and struck a deal to sell the generator, Taoussi said.
“I was very nervous— I couldn’t make a mistake. The guy could have a gun,” he said, “If they were the people who actually took [my generator] there was a chance they could be armed.”
Busse said he would be willing to sell the generator for $300 even though he claimed to have paid double at Lowes.
Taoussi followed the car into a Parkland shopping plaza, on the premise of making the purchase, and called police.
Meanwhile, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Greene, who took the original report of the generator theft, spotted a red Mercedes on U.S. 441 (S.R. 7) heading southbound into Parkland, PBSO spokesman Eric Davis said.
That Mercedes wasn’t involved in the theft, but coincidentally it turned into the same shopping plaza along the 7500 block of State Road 7 where Taoussi was meeting with Busse.
According to Broward Sheriff’s Detective Tony Hierrezuelo, who went to the scene for his agency, Taoussi flagged down PBSO deputy Greene who had approached Busse.
During the incident, Busse darted into Greene’s patrol car and tried to drive away, but the vehicle’s security system prevented him from fleeing, Hierrezuelo said.
Greene slightly injured his hand while struggling to get Busse out of the patrol car’s driver’s seat and ultimately subdued him with a Taser, Hierrezuelo said.
Busse is facing multiple charges including grand theft auto, depriving an officer means of protection, and resisting an officer with violence.
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