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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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  • He’s a true gangsta…earning his creds….put this punk away…

    Monday, 21 December 2015, 11:58 am
  • Thats the key word. Trained. Most firearm owners have little to no training. Some even with training do stupid things. Ive seen things jammed into barrels ie bubble gum during annual qualifications.

    Sunday, 20 December 2015, 11:28 pm
  • Yes concerned can carry ..but not leave your gun in an unlocked car! It is that “well trained persons” fault a gun is in the wrong hands on the street..irresponsible

    Sunday, 20 December 2015, 1:03 am
  • This guy is innocent. We can all clearly see that right? Right color

    Saturday, 19 December 2015, 10:37 pm
  • Mandee, yes that is correct. Lockboxes are available on just about every off-road Jeep/truck website. The boxes can be bolted down in your vehicle.

    Saturday, 19 December 2015, 10:23 am
  • sorry GUN free zones. There should be no reason a trained, licensed, CCW person should not be allowed to carry.

    Saturday, 19 December 2015, 9:09 am
  • HEY Mandy do away with useless gum free zones.

    Saturday, 19 December 2015, 9:05 am
  • This is AWESOME 🙂 Way to go HCSO

    Saturday, 19 December 2015, 12:35 am
  • Bridge water club apartments. There is a shocker. Section 8 housing.

    Saturday, 19 December 2015, 12:26 am
  • Aren’t there firearm lock boxes you could have installed in your car to make it so that neither the gun or the lock box could be stolen easily?

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 11:56 pm
  • This guy pictured here “James Branden Goncalves” side swiped an suv then crashed his Blue Acura into the back of my mini-van this past Tuesday (12/15/15 @ 11:20 am) at the corner of Trenton & US 19! I have pictures and the Florida Highway Patrols report.

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 11:10 pm
  • Its a sad world when we cant leave change in our cars…get a job loser stop stealing

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 10:26 pm
  • Soon after the first bait car deployed, a Juvenile out of Dade City took the bait and was quickly apprehended.*

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 10:13 pm
  • glad to see HCSO is catching these losers and thank you for the coverage Tom :-p

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 10:13 pm
  • Bridgewater Club is full of druggie and thugs wannabees

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 9:49 pm
  • Sam; don’t take it (gun) with you or lock it in your trunk….

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 9:46 pm
  • I saw him on the jail bookings page, along with many others..
    Great job HCSO! 🙂

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 9:31 pm
  • I agree with never leave a firearm in your car, but it is a problem when you drive to a area where you can not carry!

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 9:12 pm
  • Outstanding, does he live in Weeki Wachee Woodlands, I know some people in the area.

    Friday, 18 December 2015, 8:47 pm

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