BROOKSVILLE — Scott Joseph Astringer officially held the title of senior supervisor at the UPS shipping center off Broad Street.
But Brooksville police on Wednesday called him something else: criminal mastermind.
Astringer, 39, planned, organized and assisted in two burglaries at his place of employment, resulting in the theft of several thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry, coins and electronics, as well as roughly $20,000 in prescription drugs, said Brooksville police Chief George Turner.
Astringer, a Spring Hill man with no prior criminal record in Florida, supplied his business keys and crucial information about staffing levels and other details that would allow others to enter the UPS center undetected, police said.
"We think this guy is the mastermind of it," said Turner. "This group will not be able to perpetrate these crimes against UPS again."
Astringer admitted to the burglaries, which occurred on Dec. 23 and March 17, Turner said. The investigation began after an employee at the center noticed that items were missing.
In the December burglary, police claim Astringer drove to Pasco County in his personal vehicle to pick up his accomplices.
He gave them keys to the building, office and safe; descriptions of the interior layout, and the location of high-value items awaiting delivery. He dropped them off at the UPS center, then met them back in Pasco County at an accomplice's residence to retrieve the keys, Turner said.
A similar scenario played out March 17, he said, except that time Astringer and one accomplice waited in the vehicle while a third suspect entered the business. They then left in a vehicle driven by Astringer.
"The plan was to sell all these stolen items, mostly the pharmaceuticals, on the street," Turner said.
Except for an iPhone, none of the stolen property was recovered.
Police are also investigating other burglaries at the UPS center with similar circumstances, but those have not been linked to Astringer, Turner said
No other arrests had been made as of Wednesday.
The investigation, which involves Brooksville police and UPS security personnel, has spanned several months and two Florida counties.
Astringer was arrested Wednesday morning at the UPS center.
He faces two burglary charges and two larceny charges and was being held at the Hernando County Detention Center in lieu of $20,000 bail.
Astringer had been an employee at UPS for at least 10 years, Turner said.
"He knew the system," the chief said. "He obviously decided how he could make a few extra bucks."
UPS officials declined to comment.
Danny Valentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter @HernandoTimes.