Police: Winter Haven man helps officers find burglars who stole guns, jewelry


WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Winter Haven police said an alert neighbor helped capture two burglary suspects.

Police said around 4:30 p.m. Friday, a man on College Grove came home to find his window was pried open, and three firearms and jewelry had been stolen from his home.

Neighbor Maxie Hunter had seen a Chevy Cobalt back into the driveway 30 minutes earlier while the homeowner was away.

Hunter said he saw a man get in the car with a green backpack.

Acting on a hunch, Hunter followed the car and wrote down the tag number.

The suspect, who was later identified as Jason Sawyer, stopped at Polk State College because of a flat tire.

Hunter asked if he could help Sawyer and let him use a jack to change the tire.

Hunter told Sawyer he had to go home and to leave the jack in the bushes.

When he arrived home, police were at his neighbor's house because of the break-in.

Realizing his hunch was correct, Hunter went back to the parking lot where he found his jack and a package with Sawyer’s mailing address that had been left behind.

Police were able to find Sawyer, and his girlfriend who was with him during the burglary.

She and Sawyer were both charged in the burglaries and booked into the Polk County Jail.