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Pasco man accused of using bathroom break as ruse for burglary

LAND O'LAKES — He said he needed to go to the bathroom. Badly.

Justin Lee Stetzler, 23, was doing lawn work Monday morning with a colleague at a house on Cherry Ridge Place. The homeowners are in New York. Stetzler told deputies the back sliding glass door was unlocked.

So he went inside and used the upstairs bathroom, according to a report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Then, Stetzler told authorities, he heard a neighbor — suspicious of a strange car at the residence — knock on the front door. Stetzler said he was "frightened" so he ran toward the back, hurdled a couch and knocked over a fake plant, shattering its green ceramic pot.

A deputy contacted the owners, who said no one had permission to go inside their home and that they locked the glass door.

Stetzler was arrested and charged with burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. Stetzler, who told deputies he lives at 23124 Belinda Drive in Land O'Lakes, was also arrested in 2002 on a charge of burglary in Pasco County when he was 15, as well as fleeing authorities and larceny in 2005, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Stetzler remained at the Pasco County jail Tuesday in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco man accused of using bathroom break as ruse for burglary 05/04/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 6:54pm]
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