ST. PETERSBURG — Three people who broke into Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill early Thursday morning are suspected of pulling off several break-ins around south Pinellas, authorities say.
No one, however, is saying they're very good burglars.
Joseph Nathan Belanger, Louis Lauro and Kimberly Lewis had the misfortune to break into Ferg's, authorities say, while undercover Pinellas sheriff's detectives watched. Unbeknownst to them, detectives had come to suspect them in a series of break-ins and tailed them.
And, lest anyone forget, Ferg's is right across the street from St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters and rows and rows of police cars.
Owner Mark Ferguson got the call soon after the arrests.
"It was the best phone call I ever got at 3:30 in the morning," he said.
That's because Ferguson said the detectives told him those are the same people who broke into his bar early Wednesday morning and stole three big plasma TVs from the patio ceiling.
When he opened the doors later that morning, Ferguson said, he saw that they had tried to steal a fourth TV, but ended up dropping and destroying it.
Detectives told him the TVs are long gone. The three traded them for drugs, Ferguson was told, which might explain why they thought it was a good idea to break into the same place and do it again.
"To us, that's a $1,000 TV," Ferguson said. "What are they going to get for it? Maybe $50 in drugs?"
State records show all three have criminal records. Most of the charges lodged against them Thursday were from St. Petersburg police. The Sheriff's Office expects to add more soon. The arrested are:
• Joseph Nathan Belanger, 26, of 7200 62nd St. in Pinellas Park, who was arrested on three counts of grand theft, two counts of commercial burglary, two counts of criminal mischief and one count of burglary of an unoccupied structure.
• Louis Anthony Lauro, 22, also of 7200 62nd St., was arrested on charges of burglary, failing to appear in court on a charge of open container of alcohol, and violation of probation on a 2000 charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
• Kimberly Lewis, 21, of 6458 79th Ave. N, was arrested on one count of commercial burglary.