The PJ Tatler

Suspected Teen Bandits Caught In Florida

The law finally caught up with a pair of Kentucky teens on the run in an alleged crime spree that spread up and down the South on Sunday.

Grayson County Sheriff officials said in a statement that 18-year-old Dalton Hayes and his 13-year-old girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, were arrested without incident about 12:10 a.m. Sunday in Panama City Beach. The two had eluded police in multiple states while raising concern about their increasingly bold behavior.

Authorities said the U.S. Marshal’s Service and local law enforcement in Panama City Beach discovered Hayes and Phillips asleep in a 2001 Toyota Tundra that was stolen in Georgia. The vehicle was surrounded by law enforcement and both Hayes and Phillips were taken into custody. Authorities plan to extradite the pair back to Kentucky where they are expected to face felony charges.

Hayes’ family did not realize that Phillips was only 13 until the two had been dating for months.

Cheyenne “would go in and write checks, and she would come out with cigarettes and stuff, so I didn’t have any reason not to believe she wasn’t 19,” Martin said. “Because normally you can’t buy cigarettes when you’re 13 years old.

By the time her son realized she was a mere 13, “he was already done in love with her,” Martin said.

Hayes was no stranger to legal trouble when he and Phillips fled their hometown two weeks ago.

When he hit the road, Hayes was running away from trouble back home. He faces burglary and theft charges in his home county, stemming from an arrest late last year, according to Grayson County court records.

He was planning to be at the local judicial center on Jan. 5 to find out if a grand jury had indicted him on the charges, his mother said. His case did not come up, but by that time the teens were gone.

After leaving Grayson County, where the first truck they allegedly stole crashed, Hayes and Phillips were spotted at a Walmart in South Carolina, where authorities suspect they passed off stolen checks. The two then fled to Georgia, where they allegedly stole another truck in Henry County, a few miles south of Atlanta, before fleeing further south to Panama City Beach, where authorities arrested them.