AVON PARK - A Highlands County deputy posing as a migrant worker after the robberies of several migrant workers in recent weeks was attacked and robbed by two men, Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton said.
The deputy, whose name is not being released, received minor injuries and was treated at a local hospital, Benton said.
The two men suspected of robbing the deputy, Damian Jamal Collins, 19, and Marcus Alex Swinton, 18, were arrested Friday night by the Highlands County Sheriff's Office and charged with robbery, and resisting an officer without violence. Swinton was also charged with trespass. Their full addresses were not immediately available.
The two men were being investigated in connection with up to five robberies of migrant workers, Benton said.
The sheriff praised the work of the deputy who was attacked, as well as the Special Operation's Unit of which he was a member.
"Our deputy's action by becoming a victim himself to stop this crime wave is bravery at its best," Benton said. "Our office is full of men and women who put their lives on the line everyday for the safety of our citizens."
Benton vowed that her office will do its best to help make sure the robbers face full consequences.
"As for these young men who victimized so many innocent people, our team plans to have a great case for the prosecution to take before the courts and these thugs will face the consequences of their actions of terrorizing the migrant community," she said.
Benton said the deputy was dressed in plain clothes when Collins and Swinton approached him and started attacking him. They broke a necklace from around his neck and tore his clothing, the sheriff added.
They they punched the deputy near his head, as he tried to protect himself and identify himself as a deputy, Benton said.
When other deputies arrived in vehicles with sirens blaring, the robbers fled, she said.
Deputies arrested Collins on West Pine Street, she said.
Swinton was arrested on the west side of U.S. 27 after he fled through businesses and climbed fences in an attempt to be evade arrest, she said. He was being held on $11,500 bond.