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Burglary suspect's getaway in pedal boat is foiled, deputies say

PALM HARBOR — By pedal boat and bicycle, a fleeing burglar clad only in boxer shorts couldn't get away quite fast enough, authorities say.

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies arrested Christopher L. Schaumburger on Monday morning 200 yards offshore in Lake Tarpon after witnesses said he burglarized two homes on the 3000 block of Marian Drive.

"We've had suspects try to jump in the water before, but never before have I seen a pedal boat used as a means of escape," said sheriff's spokesman Thomas Nestor, who has more than 23 years in law enforcement.

The Sheriff's Office says Schaumburger, 20, first broke into the home of Mary Vogelsberg, who heard breaking glass around 9 a.m. and found a pair of sunglasses on her windowsill.

She did not see anyone suspicious around. But not long after, someone did.

Vogelsberg's neighbor, Nicholas Hammond, awoke to use the bathroom and found Schaumburger, a transient, ransacking his home, the arrest report said.

Deputies said that when Hammond confronted Schaumburger, the man fled and jumped on a bicycle he had hidden a block away. Hammond gave chase on foot and eventually caught up with the fleeing suspect.

But Schaumburger was armed — with a pocket knife. Hammond backed off and called authorities.

Deputies said Schaumburger fled down a street with a dead end at Lake Tarpon. With nowhere to go, authorities said he hijacked a docked pedal boat and tried to escape across the lake.

A Sheriff's Office helicopter was called in. According to the arrest report, the helicopter crew reported that "there was a lone male pedaling the boat dressed only in boxer shorts, and the boat appeared to be taking on water."

Deputies enlisted the help of resident Robert Putnam, whose pontoon boat was docked at the lake, to intercept Schaumburger.

Schaumburger was charged with armed burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted burglary of an occupied dwelling. He is being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $65,000 bail.

Burglary suspect's getaway in pedal boat is foiled, deputies say 01/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 10:42pm]

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