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Tampa police say parents enlisted child to burglarize home

TAMPA — When they needed help breaking into a home, Reginald Butler and Sarah Conner made an unorthodox choice, police say:

Their 10-year-old son.

Police said the couple on Monday morning had their child climb through an unlocked bedroom window of a duplex unit at 8518 N Alaska St. and open the front door.

The couple went in and took a television set, a computer stand and a mop bucket — a total $120 value, according to authorities.

Butler, 38, and Conner, 30, were charged with grand theft, burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Both were in jail Monday night.

Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said a child protection investigator had been called in to assist in the case but she did not know if the boy was with family or in state care Monday night.

Butler and Conner live in a duplex at 8515 N Ninth St., Apt. A, about 100 yards from the burglarized residence.

Butler has been arrested 28 times since 1991, state records show.

He served seven months in prison for a 1993 burglary. Conner had been arrested nine times, on charges including forgery and resisting an officer, according to records.

On Monday, police responded to the Sulphur Springs neighborhood after residents saw the couple at the Alaska Street duplex unit.

Neighbors told the St. Petersburg Times that a family had moved out of the unit only a couple of days earlier but had not yet gathered all of their belongings.

Officers say they later recovered the stolen goods from another nearby home, this one on N 10th Street.

The resident of that home, Adrina Mayo, 38, was also arrested on the same three charges as Butler and Conner.

Police say they returned the television set and other property to the previous tenant.

On Monday night, the allegations against Butler and Conner, who were new to the neighborhood, had nearby residents talking.

"It's a different world, it really is," said Karen Davis, 41. "Who'd send their kids in to rob a house?"

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3374.

Tampa police say parents enlisted child to burglarize home 07/18/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 1:19am]
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