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Bar owner spots burglars via TV monitor 100 miles away

LARGO — Jeffery Young was in the midst of a deep sleep at 3:30 a.m. Thursday when he awoke, just for a second, and lazily glanced over at the television monitor in his bedroom.

He did a double take.

It took only a moment for Young to realize that something was amiss on the monitor at his Orlando home. It's hooked up to a set of security cameras he uses to keep tabs on the restaurant he owns, O'Boobigan's Irish Bar and Grill on Ulmerton Road in Largo.

The feed from one of the security cameras was black. Then, a face appeared close to the lens of the second camera. It loomed for a moment, and then — snip — another camera feed was gone.

From a third camera on the inside of the restaurant, he could see two figures on the bar patio, kicking in the door of a locked cabana.

One hundred miles away, Young was watching two men right in the middle of burglarizing his bar.

"I panicked. I mean, I'm way over here in Orlando!" Young recalled Thursday afternoon.

Immediately, he called the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and reported what he was seeing on the security cameras.

Then the bar owner did the only thing he could do from 100 miles away: sit back and enjoy the show.

He watched the two men exit the cabana. Then, one of the men lifted a stool and threw it at the plexiglass window of the bar's main building, but the stool just bounced off.

The man was about to try throwing the stool again when, suddenly, he looked around and dropped it. He and the other burglar tore off and out of the view of the security camera.

Moments later, a Pinellas sheriff's deputy ran past the camera, his gun drawn.

Young was riveted.

"It was unnerving, watching it on camera unfolding right in front of you," he said. "You can't do anything about it. I was just like, 'Get 'em!' "

Deputies quickly caught James R. Sellards, 35, of Clearwater, and Devron A. Pringle, 20, of St. Petersburg. They were both arrested on charges of burglary and criminal mischief, according to their arrest reports. Pringle also was charged with resisting an officer.

On Thursday night, they were both being held in the Pinellas County Jail. Sellards' bail is $5,250 and Pringle's bail is $5,400.

Sellards and Pringle told deputies that they broke into the cabana with the hopes of finding a couple of beers, the arrest reports said. But they apparently weren't able to pry open the lock on the cooler.

If they had, they would have gotten an unpleasant surprise: the cabana's cooler was empty, Young said.

Young says the fact that he woke up in the middle of the night at exactly the right time to spot the pair was dumb luck.

"I'm actually thinking that I need to play the lotto today," Young said.

Martine Powers can be reached at mpowers@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4224.

Bar owner spots burglars via TV monitor 100 miles away 06/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:27pm]
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