Cops: Sanford burglars stash loot in crawlspaces, bushes


SANFORD, Fla. - Police in Seminole County say some burglars working an area near downtown Sanford have a strange way of hiding their loot.

The latest string of burglaries happened in the 700 block of Park Avenue.

Investigators said the crooks are stashing the items they steal in nearby vacant homes.

The broken glass on Katherine Breehl's back door is the only sign that burglars struck just days ago.

They stole $7,500 worth of possessions including two guns and two large televisions.

"All our gates were padlocked. We couldn't (figure) out how they got them out the backyard and they didn't come through the front door," Breehl said.

Then Breehl remembered hearing that a neighbor's stolen property was found underneath someone else's home.

Police looked next door and found some of her things tucked into a dark crawlspace.

"It made sense for them to dump it and come back later," Breehl said.

Police said the burglars walk or ride their bikes in broad daylight to their victims' homes.

After they break in, they stash the stolen items in bushes or underneath nearby homes, police said.

Police said they come back with a car when the sun goes down to haul off their loot.

"At night is when you find that a lot of people are not out. What are people doing? They're sleeping," Sanford police investigator Ronny Neal said.

Fewer police officers are available for routine patrols at night because that's when they get the most calls for service.

So far, they have one person of interest, who led them to the rest of Breehl's things stashed in a different vacant home.

Now she's warning others.

"Make sure that your house is secure. Be aware of who's in your neighborhood," Breehl said.

Sanford police said they are looking for four to five people who may be tied to the break-ins.