On February 8, 2011 at approximately 5:30 am, the Polk County Sheriff's Office was contacted regarding three male suspects observed in the yard of a residence on Fox Crest Lane, Lakeland. The suspects were seen burglarizing a parked vehicle at the residence. The suspects were also observed fleeing the area in a red Chevrolet Cavalier.
At approximately the same time, deputies were notified that a suspicious red vehicle was seen leaving the neighborhood shortly after a car alarm was activated.
At 5:34 am, a red Chevrolet Cavalier, occupied by three male subjects, was seen traveling north on Lakeland Highlands Road near Clubhouse Road in Lakeland – PCSO deputies initiated a traffic stop. In plain view inside the Cavalier was a flat screen television and miscellaneous property.
The three suspects were positively identified as the subjects observed committing the vehicle burglary earlier.
The occupants were identified as
Driver: 23-year-old Brian Scott Romaine, DOB 08/21/1987, 27718 Collins Avenue, Lakeland.
· Front Seat Passenger: 21-year-old Daniel Joseph Panic, DOB 07/05/1989, 1718 Huntington Street, Lakeland
· Rear Seat Passenger: 19-year-old Stevenson Kyle Holt, 1718 Turtle Rock Drive, Lakeland.
As deputies were conducting the Fox Crest Lane investigation, the PCSO communications center began to receive multiple reports of additional vehicle burglaries within the same area.
While conducting a search in the neighborhoods surrounding the other reported burglaries, deputy sheriffs discovered vehicles with car doors opened. Multiple property items were discovered in the suspect vehicle matched property taken from these multiple reported burglaries.
A total of 20 separated burglaries were reported by 16 separate victims. The suspects were charged with multiple counts of Armed Conveyance Burglary, Burglary-Conveyance, Possession of Burglary Tools, Grand Theft-Firearm, Grand Theft, Petit Theft and Criminal Mischief. All property reported stolen was recovered. All of the vehicles burglarized were unlocked.
“These three thieves found the perfect opportunity to commit their crimes,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “An unlocked vehicle with property in plain view is just too tempting for criminals to pass by. Luckily, a concerned citizen cared enough to report the suspicious activity and deputies were able to quickly locate and arrest these criminals.” The suspects will be booked into the Polk County Jail later today.
Residents are reminded to secure all valuables out of plain view, lock vehicles parked outside, and immediately report suspicious activity to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 983.298.6200.