In the past week, a brazen thief has broken into at least seven homes in Port Richey and New Port Richey while the residents were sleeping, authorities said. The burglar has stolen wallets, cash, cell phones and even cars, if he can find the keys.
No one has woken up to catch the criminal in the act.
"The fact that he's going into homes that are occupied … this makes him particularly dangerous," said Doug Tobin, spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. "We want to get him off the streets before somebody gets hurt."
Tobin said the thief isn't targeting a specific population, such as elderly citizens or people who live alone. His targets are any homes with people living inside them, as he's going after personal items — cash, credit cards and so on.
"Most burglars want to go into homes that are not occupied," Tobin said. "This person seems intent on getting into homes that are occupied."
He said that makes the situation extremely dangerous.
"We hope someone will see his picture and identify him," Tobin said.
The suspect is slender and about 5 feet 9 to 6 feet tall. He appears to be in his 20s to possibly early 30s, Tobin said. He has light brown or dark blonde hair. During one of the burglaries, he wore a black backpack.
The most recent break-in happened between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 7400 block of Lake Forest Circle in the Forest Lake Estates subdivision in Port Richey. The victims were asleep in their bedrooms and woke up to find their money, cell phones and other items gone.
The first reported break-in was Oct. 30. All of the burglaries took place between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. and occurred in the area of Forest Lake Estates in Port Richey and Deer Park and near Grand Boulevard and Trouble Creek Road in New Port Richey.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.
How to help
Anyone with information about this suspect is asked to call the Pasco County Sheriff's Office at (727) 844-7711. Anonymous tips can be left at 1-800-706-2488.
Video of the suspect is available at http://tinyurl.com/PascoBurglar.
The video is from the suspect allegedly using a victim's credit card at a gas station in New Port Richey.