A 16-year-old resident of Palm Coast’s Plateau Lane who’d had run-ins with law enforcement before was arrested on Saturday (Sept. 28) and charged with six counts of felony burglaries or attempted burglaries after P-Section residents reported break-ins on Plumtree Place.
A couple who routinely check their surveillance camera footage every morning brought the matter to law enforcement’s attention last weekend. The couple was checking footage on Saturday when they noticed someone walking on their property, just after 6 a.m. The individual tried opening the locked car doors on two cars parked in the driveway.
As deputies were speaking with the couple at the house, they got a report from a nearby neighbors on Plumtree that both their cars were burglarized: a gold-plated men’s chain bracelet valued at $150 was stolen, and the lid to a center console was broken off, causing $100 in damage. The vehicle owner said it was left unlocked because his children like to play in and around it. The vehicle of yet another homeowner was rummaged through, but nothing appeared to have been taken.
Deputies looked for homes with additional surveillance cameras and found one–at a house that was no longer occupied, but where the cameras were still installed and still recording. Deputies located the owner, who volunteered the footage. It showed a black male with a tall thin build, in gym shorts and a dark-color, hooded sweatshirt with bright color trim. During the investigation, a deputy recalled that an individual in the neighborhood had been recently investigated on suspicions of burglaries.
It was the 16-year-old boy in question. Deputies paid him a visit. He wasn’t home. His mother, according to his arrest report, “did not confirm or deny that it was her son in the video.” But she collected her son and made contact again with deputies, agreeing to an interview. The boy was wearing the same shorts that had been observed in the video, and was “easily recognizable as the individual attempting to burglarize the vehicles,” his arrest report states. The report alleges he admitted to the thefts, and agreed to ride around the neighborhood with a deputy (and his mother) , identifying other vehicles he’d burglarized or attempted to burglarize.
Back at the boy’s home, his mother granted permission to have his room searched for evidence. A black hooded sweatshirt with bright orange trim was found, as was a brown Gucci case with 24 rounds of ammunition for a .380 handgun. That was found in one of the boy’s shoes. The boy was placed under arrest.
“This is another great example of how good police work, a proactive community and technology can work together to apprehend offenders and stop crime in Flagler County,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Our deputies collected footage captured from a home surveillance system and one of our deputies recognized the suspect immediately.” In an interview this afternoon, the sheriff said that car burglaries are actually down 56 percent so far this year, compared to last year, thanks to more awareness about keeping vehicles locked and deputies’ routine checks on juvenile probationers.