GPS appliance sting shows dedicated detective work
Published: March 27, 2010
Published: March 27, 2010
In the annals of dumb crooks, the arrest last week of a husband and wife burglary team epitomizes how foolish criminals can be.
It also shows how clever and committed law enforcement has become in fighting crime. Detectives with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office deserve a round of applause for their ingenuity that put an end last week to a string of burglaries in the Royal Highlands subdivision in northwest Hernando County.
For months, burglars had been stealing appliances from vacant and foreclosed homes in the remote housing subdivision. In an effort to catch those responsible, detectives placed global positioning devices on appliances as well as bright green stickers on the houses, alerting potential thieves the property might be monitored using the GPS devices.
Apparently, the married crime-committing duo either didn't notice the warnings or paid no attention.
For the first time since they began the sting last September, authorities got a bite on their bait. An appliance fitted with a GPS device that had been stolen from one of the vacant houses was on the move.
Authorities eventually tracked the stolen refrigerator to the home of the suspects, although it had already been sold on Craigslist. Deputies also found a stove in the suspects' garage that had been stolen from the same vacant house.
According to reports, the husband admitted to burglarizing at least 14 homes in the Royal Highlands area and specifically targeted kitchen appliances. The husband told detectives that he had been selling the appliances on Craigslist and that was how he supported his family for the past year. Authorities suspect he listed and sold 35 appliances in the past month alone.
Since getting busted, the husband has been very cooperative with detectives, going so far as to show them some of the homes he burglarized. There were so many, he apparently can't remember them all.
He also rolled over on his accomplice, proving there is no loyalty among thieves - even married ones. After the husband was nabbed, he sang like the proverbial stool pigeon and turned in his wife.
Now authorities are asking anyone who bought an appliance from the couple to contact Detective Ignacia Velez or Detective Mike Little at 352-754-6830. The detectives want to document the sales and are not interested in retrieving the appliances. Also, they don't consider the buyers to be part of the crime. The information will help authorities build their case against the couple.
We encourage the buyers to step forward. The good guys deserve your assistance and praise.