NEW PORT RICHEY — Steve Hiebert was working in his second-floor office Friday morning when he saw the woman down in the parking lot, peeking in cars.
When she wandered over by his car, he got suspicious.
In another parking lot at another office, that might have been all that happened. But this was the parking lot for Child Protective Investigations — the one that's part of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Hiebert, a strategic analyst for the sheriff's intelligence-led policing division, told Lt. Brian Prescott, a 21-year veteran deputy. Prescott jumped up from his desk and ran down the stairwell, into the parking lot.
He watched Samantha Standiford, 29, round the side of the building, at 7601 Little Road. He followed. When he leaned around the corner, he found her upside down in the passenger's side of a gray Honda Civic, riffling through its contents.
"Then I walked up and politely introduced myself," he later told the Times.
"Is this your car?" he asked her.
She said it was her friend's.
"No it's not," he said. "Put your hands on the roof."
Standiford was put in handcuffs and taken to jail. A secretary phoned Kathy Donovan, an administrative assistant for another company in the building, to tell her someone had broken into her car.
Donovan smiled while she talked to reporters at the scene; the door handles of her Civic still black with fingerprinting dust from deputies gathering evidence.
"Friday the 13th is not a lucky day," she said. "Well, it certainly wasn't for her. It was lucky for me."
Deputies said Standiford, who faces one count of auto burglary, was originally in the parking lot to wait for her boyfriend who was meeting with child protective services personnel.
Standiford of 5013 School Road remained Tuesday at the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Alex Orlando can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.