Lake County sees 60 burglaries in past 5 weeks

Updated:

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —

Lake County deputies are working to figure out if a large ring of thieves is behind dozens of home burglaries.

In the last five weeks, there have been 60 burglaries reported from Lady Lake to Leesburg.

Corley Island Road just outside Leesburg is a quiet street, which may be why burglars recently targeted a handful of homes there.

"We believe there are at least two or maybe three different groups that are targeting these areas," said Sgt. Jim Vachon.

The burglars are targeting homes and then kicking in doors for easy access, authorities said.

That's how deputies said suspects Stacey Brown and Corey Payton broke into their victims' homes.

Channel 9's Berndt Petersen talked to Payton in a jailhouse interview on Thursday.

"I was on drugs," Payton said.

Payton is accused of burglarizing a home on Corley Island Road Saturday. Detectives said he was in the process of taking items out of a home a few doors away when the burglar alarm went off.

Payton told Petersen he wasn't in his right mind.

"That was the whole thing. I don't recall taking anything," he said.

Payton also claims he didn't know anything about any burglary rings.

The Sheriff's Office said being an alert neighbor is the key to stopping the burglaries.

"If it turns out to be nothing, no harm, no foul," said Vachon. "But if it turns out to be your neighbor's house being broken into, we definitely need to know about that."

Detectives are looking for several more suspects in the burglary cases. Anyone with information is asked to contact Lake County authorities.