Four vehicle burglaries reported in late April on north Siesta Key under investigation by Sheriff’s Office

Incidents occurred on Givens Street, Mangrove Point Road and Tropical Circle

This aerial map shows Givens Street, Mangrove Point Road and Tropical Circle, all within relatively close proximity on the northern part of Siesta Key. Image from Google Maps

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is investigating four vehicle burglaries reported on north Siesta Key between April 21 and April 22, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.

Nothing valued more than $40 was found to be missing, the affected residents told the Sheriff’s Office.

In response to a News Leader inquiry about the incidents, Dana Judge, media relations specialist for the Sheriff’s Office, reported in a May 1 email that all of the cases had been assigned to a single detective, who “Is working to ascertain if they are related.”

That was all the information she had at the time, Judge added.

One of the residents of the home located at 725 Mangrove Point Road told the responding deputy that he had observed two male suspects driving a black, four-door sedan in the area of his home the morning of April 22. The report indicated that the resident had seen them on a surveillance system.

The suspects damaged the resident’s video surveillance equipment by pulling it down, the report also indicated; then they entered his Land Rover. The resident told the deputy “he thought it was kids acting stupid,” the report continued, but he discovered later that his checkbook was missing from the vehicle. The resident told the deputy that he “was in the process of notifying his bank,” the report said.

Damage to the surveillance equipment was estimated at $1,200, the report noted.

The deputy handling that case was able to watch surveillance video of the incident, the report also indicated. The deputy observed “two male suspects, approximately 15 to 19 years of age, [wearing white, long-sleeved hoodies] and white shorts exit a black 4-door sedan” at the resident’s home and then walk toward a video camera, the report further indicated. (Sections of the report were redacted.)

The suspects ended up driving away, eastbound, the report added. However, the report noted, one of the suspects later could be seen walking toward the Land Rover.“ [T]he vehicle’s large LCD screens came on,” the report added, and then the other suspect joined the first one.

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The deputy’s report added, “Both subjects then left westbound on Mangrove Point Road.”

When the deputy canvassed the Mangrove Point Road area, the report indicated, he found surveillance cameras at the homes located at 4420 Mangrove Place and 723 Mangrove Point Road, but no one was home at either residence.

The Mangrove Point Road victim told the deputy that he had used the Land Rover since the incident occurred, so the resident saw no need for the deputy to try to lift fingerprints from it, the report added.

When a deputy responded to the scene of the first incident — 304 Givens St. — a resident of that single-family home said that someone had broken into his GMC Yukon the previous night, the report said.

The resident explained that he had returned home about 1:30 p.m. on April 21. At approximately 7 a.m. on April 22, the resident added, he went out to the vehicle to retrieve a few items. At that time, the report continued, he noticed that the center console was open. He alerted his wife, the report added, and then both of them checked the vehicle. They found that the console tray with $30 in change had been removed. The console tray itself was valued at $40, the report noted.

Again, because the residents had been inside the vehicle, no attempt was made to lift fingerprints, the report pointed out.

In the third incident, a resident of the home standing at 767 Tropical Circle advised a deputy that his vehicle had been broken into between 10:30 p.m. on April 21 and 1:47 p.m. on April 22.

That man explained that he and his wife had been out of the house on April 21, returning home around 10:30 p.m., and then they went to bed. On April 22, the report continued, when the man went outside abut 8 a.m., he noticed that the passenger door of his Jeep was open. When he investigated, the report said, he found that items had been moved around in the center console, but nothing of value had been taken.

That resident, too, told the responding deputy that he did not see the need for the deputy to try to lift any fingerprints, as he and his wife had used the vehicle “all morning”; he just wanted to file a report.

That report indicated that the resident and his wife have a surveillance system, but the man told the deputy he could not access it. If he was able to do so later, the report continued, the resident would call the deputy.

In canvassing the area, the report added, the deputy found that none of the neighbors had surveillance cameras, so the deputy took no further action.

The final report in the group involved an incident that occurred between 6:30 p.m. on April 21 and 7 a.m. on April 22, that report said. The location was redacted in the report, but the 911 Dispatch call log listed another address on Tropical Circle.

In that case, the report explained, a deputy spoke with the victim, who said she had gone out to her vehicle on the morning of April 22; it was parked in her driveway. She noticed that the “driver’s side door was  slightly ajar, and the car had been rummaged through,” the report said.

She told the deputy that she had locked the vehicle, a Mazda, when she exited it the previous evening. However, the report noted, she observed no signs of forced entry on April 22.

The victim added that she had not been able to determine whether anything had been taken, but she also said that she had left nothing of value in the vehicle, the report pointed out. She took a photo of the vehicle before she left her home that day, the report added; it was entered into evidence.

Once again, because of the circumstances, the deputy did not dust for fingerprints.

While the deputy was on the scene, the report continued, several people who live in the same neighborhood approached the deputy. The report indicated that they said they would check their surveillance video. The victim herself had no surveillance cameras.

Sgt. Dan Smith. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

That report also noted that the deputy responding to that call had learned that another deputy had handled the other three cases “in the surrounding area, earlier in the day, for the same offense.”

During almost every presentation he makes at Siesta Key Association monthly meetings, Sgt. Dan Smith, leader of the Sheriff’s Office substation on Siesta Key, urges attendees to keep their vehicles locked at all times when they are not using them. Like other substation leaders over the years, Smith has warned about facilitating “crimes of opportunity.” People intent on perpetrating thefts will drive around the island, officers have explained, searching for vehicles that have not been secured.

Along with Sgt. Smith, six deputies are assigned to the Siesta Substation, as noted in the Sheriff’s Office Annual Report for 2023. (See the related article in this issue.)

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