Burglars stole loot in pillowcases, wrapped up as Christmas presents



MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A couple of "pillowcase bandits" are making big news in Marion County Wednesday.

Detectives told WFTV they've finally caught the thieves after weeks of unsolved home burglaries in Ocala.

Detectives said they were caught when the wife of Ocala's mayor saw them peering into windows in her neighborhood.

Police said Robert Harrison and Jonathan Rollins used pillow cases from the homes they burglarized to haul away plenty of loot.

Detectives said a piece of jewelry helped them link those suspects to the crimes.

In a garage at the Ocala Police Department, investigators showed the stash of goods they said Harrison and Rollins stole during more than a dozen burglaries.

"I'm hoping to give some people in the northeast and southeast of Ocala some sense of assurance, knowing that the people that violated their homes are in custody," said Sgt. Greg Martin of the Ocala Police Department.

Police said rare coins, including a silver dollar from 1892, were just part of the stolen loot. They even had a book and were trying to figure out how much it was all worth.

In the stash of old baseball cards, DVDs and jewelry was the key to cracking the case – a UCF class ring.

When detectives contacted the person whose name was on the back of the ring they confirmed their first victim.

"She said, 'When I left for work that morning, that ring was in my jewelry box,'" Martin said.

While searching the home where Harrison was living, police found some of the stolen goods wrapped up as Christmas presents to family members.

"If we wouldn't have got there, they would have probably been under someone's Christmas tree," Martin said.