Sheriff’s Office Deploys Bait Cars to Combat Rising Vehicle Burglaries
Over the last several months there have been dozens of vehicle burglaries around Hernando County. A large number of those have occurred in the area of Blackhawk Trail, Cherokee trail and most recently Sugarfoot Drive.
The Sheriff’s Office recently announced that they had deployed “bait cars” in an effort to combat the rising number of burglaries. Soon after the first bait car deployed, a Juvenile out of Dade City took the bait and was quickly apprehended.
Officials are now reporting a much bigger bust, after deputies responded to the 7300 block of Blackhawk Trail early this morning, to reports of a Vehicle Burglary in progress. The victim reported observing a male enter her vehicle and was able to provide dispatchers with a description of the male. Soon after arriving on scene, deputies located the suspect hiding behind a vehicle (that he had just burglarized) at a residence on Cherokee Trail.
Deputies arrested 22-year-old James Brandon Goncalves and transported him to District II for questioning, where he denied having involvement with the crimes. Investigators say Goncalves was unable to explain why he was in possession of stolen properly linked to several of the Vehicle Burglaries. Surveillance video from the area captured Goncalves committing the burglaries, which he was also unable to explain.
According to officials, each vehicle that Goncalves burglarized was unlocked. Items targeted were loose change, small electronics, and even a firearm. At this time all items have been recovered except for the firearm.
Goncalves is charged with 11-counts of Burglary Conveyance, 2-counts of Attempted Burglary, and 1-count of Armed Burglary. He was also found to be in possession of under 20grams of marijuana.
It is not known at this time if a bait car was utilized in this operation.
The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the community to:
– ALWAYS lock your vehicle when you leave it, even if you will only be away from it for a short time.
– NEVER leave valuables in your vehicle (i.e., iPods, cell phones, computers, purses, etc.).
– Do not leave loose change in your vehicle.
– NEVER leave a firearm in your vehicle. (If a thief gets your firearm, he/she is now armed and a greater threat to the community. This is especially true for the deputy that approaches that now-armed criminal.)
– If you have room in the garage, put the vehicle(s) in the garage (remove the temptation).
– Consider placing a RELIABLE alarm on vehicle(s) and be sure to activate the alarm each time you leave the vehicle.
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