Longboat Key police officers charged an Osprey man with two counts of car burglary and resisting arrest Saturday, Sept. 5, after beachgoers spotted him fleeing a beach-access parking lot in his van.
Longboat Key police officers responded to a report of an automobile burglary at approximately 7 p.m. Saturday, at the Atlas Street Beach access, just north of the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort, 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive.
Witnesses on the beach reported a full-size white van with a distinctive roof rack speeding away from a Toyota Prius with a broken window and an activated car alarm.
Longboat Key police officer Randy Thompson, on patrol at the North Shore Road beach access, observed a van matching the description driving slowly through the area, heading north to Bradenton Beach.
Thompson provided a detailed description of the suspect and vehicle and broadcast a bulletin over the Manatee County radio system.
Longboat Key Police Capt. Steve Mislyan and Bradenton Beach police officers located the suspect at a beach access at the intersection of Gulf Drive and Bridge Street, in Bradenton Beach.
The suspect attempted to evade apprehension but was blocked in by police units and was physically removed from his vehicle.
Evidence recovered at the scene linked the suspect to two Longboat Key car burglaries and two city of Sarasota car burglaries that occurred earlier Saturday at Marina Jacks and Lido Key, according to Longboat Key Police Chief Al Hogle.
Two laptop computers and $536 in cash were returned to crime victims after processing.
The Longboat Key Police Department charged Michael Ray Berry, 36, and transported him to Manatee County Jail. The case is still under investigation.
Hogle confirmed that Berry has an extensive record in Indiana for auto theft, burglary, theft and drug violations.
Said Hogle: “This is an excellent example of the interactive police relationship between officers of the Bradenton Beach, Sarasota and Longboat Key Police Departments.”
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- Perhaps our town might look into surveillance cameras linked to the police station (recorded digitally) in the public access lots - federal grants may be available to do this. Presence of prominently displayed warning signs may lessen the occurrence of these smash and grab crimes, at least among those criminals who weigh the cost benefit analysis of crime versus punishment. As for the guy in the story, "you can't fix stupid" when he gets caught at the next island.
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