clues leads to
arrest in thefts
What do a bright orange shirt, a helpful witness, a school video, an alert detective and pawn records have in common? Consider how this case came together.
A Kenwood homeowner came home during the day and saw a burglar leaving with a laptop and jewelry. The suspect dropped the computer, but took the jewelry. The victim chased the suspect long enough to get a good description before losing him in a high school parking lot. A witness driving by provided valuable information. And the high school's video cameras picked up the suspect in his orange shirt, which helped make a tentative identification.
Jewelry is difficult to identify, but one of the pieces was distinctive, so Detective Ricardo Lopez checked pawnshop records. He looked not only for transactions by the suspect in the video, but also for associates, including his family.
His intuition paid off. The suspect's mother had pawned the jewelry a few days after the burglary. Lopez arrested the mother for dealing in stolen property and her 17-year-old son for burglary. He also had antique coins, a camera and several hundred dollars in his pocket. Detectives kept those items, believing they were stolen, and later learned they came from another burglary.
The Juvenile Detention Center released the teen before Lopez could charge him with the second burglary. But a few days after his release, the young man called Lopez, demanding the return of "his" cash and property. "Sure," Lopez told him, "stop by at 2 p.m."
When the teen came to the police station, he got the cuffs instead of the cash.
William Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman