Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Dougherty Gang

Bad News Bears


Lee Grace Dougherty
Lee Grace Dougherty

Their story has everything a Hollywood director could hope for: A sexy, scantily clad young woman as the alleged leader; two younger brothers, both blond and wild-eyed, following in her brazen footsteps; high-speed car chases; lots and lots of guns and, to top it off, a masked bank robbery.

This is just one alleged week in the life of the reckless siblings dubbed the Dougherty Gang by media and law enforcement.

Their spree through the South, started in Florida on August 2, and ended a wild ten days later in Colorado. What they hoped to accomplish via their string of brazen acts only they know for sure, but along the way, they had the sort of criminal escapade usually reserved for the movies.

On August 1, 2011, Ryan Dougherty was sentenced on two counts of sending a minor harmful information. He had sent hundreds of sexually explicit text messages to an eleven-year old girl. As part of his sentence, he was to be electronically monitored via bracelet for two years and would be on probation for a decade.

Ryan Dougherty
Ryan Dougherty

Perhaps that news didn't sit well with Ryan, because at 6:30 a.m. the next morning, according to the Pasco Sheriff's office in Florida, the threesome loaded up their white Subaru and left their Lacoochee home. A half hour later, the monitoring bracelet was severed 17 miles away in Zephyrhills, Florida.

By 7:15, the police were in pursuit of the trio who appeared to be making a getaway, going 45 miles per hour on in a 30 mile per hour zone. Where they were going, nobody knew.

The police car, driven by Kevin Wildner, was hot on the heels of the Subaru. As cops closed in on the Doughertys, it was clear this would be no routine traffic stop.

Zephyrhills chase
Zephyrhills chase

Now heading west, the high speed pursuit continued—reaching 100 miles per hour during some stretches—as police followed the Doughertys through a pharmacy parking lot, when someone from inside the white Subaru allegedly fired rounds—as many as 20—at a tire of the police car. One made contact, but the police continued to chase the suspects—until finally the tire gave out, and the police were forced to quit. The suspects sped off.

Three hours after the shooting, the news was on fire about the threesome. The police departments of Zephyrhills and Pasco County held a press conference. They played for the press a video shot from the dashboard of the police car, showing the pursuit and shooting. The New York license plates had been identified as belonging to Ryan Dougherty. The car was cited as a 2006 Subaru Impreza.

Little did the police know, things were about to get even crazier.


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