During the December 9th Siesta Key Association meeting, Sgt. Arik Smith, leader of the Sheriff’s Office substation on the island, reported that about 345 calls for service were recorded in November. Of all those investigated, he continued, 9% were considered “Part 1” crimes under the FBI definition applied to more serious incidents, such as burglaries and thefts.
Most of those November incidents, Smith said, occurred the weekend of November 13th-15th. “We were able to develop suspects,” he added. The majority of the culprits were from Manatee County, he noted, and several have been arrested.
Another big case, Smith said, involved multiple juvenile offenders who came over to the Key one night “and stole a bunch of golf carts.”
Some of those individuals drove golf carts on the beach, he pointed out, while a couple headed off the island in the vehicles.
Charges were expected soon in connection with those incidents, Smith said.
Additionally, all but one of the vehicle break-ins reported in November involved vehicles that were not locked. In the other case, he noted, “The alarm sounded” when someone tried to get into the vehicle, so the perpetrator was unable to gain entry.
“Please lock your cars; hide your valuables,” Smith emphasized, as he has during past SKA meetings. “I can’t stress that enough, how important that is,” he said, to lock vehicles “wherever you go.”
One SKA member told Smith that, a few days prior to the meeting, a young man — whom she described as well-dressed — appeared at her door with “a box full of candy bars.” The young man asked her and her husband if they would like to buy some of the candy.
The couple never had had anyone show up like that in the past, the woman continued. They considered that the person legitimately might have been working on sales, the woman told Smith, but their next-door neighbor later warned them that people will “case” a house through the ruse of trying to sell items to the homeowners.
“Getting to our house is not exactly easy,” the woman pointed out to Smith, “so someone really tried to find our front door.”
During tourist season, especially, Smith told the couple, scam artists appear in this community; for that matter, he said, they show up statewide.
While many people may legitimately be trying to sell goods, Smith continued, “You have to be aware and be vigilant in protecting yourself.”
Distraction burglaries also are not uncommon, he explained. In those situations, one person will try to keep the homeowner occupied at the front door while a second person tries to get into the residence from the back door.
If any homeowner becomes concerned about persons showing up at a house for any reason, Smith said, the resident should feel free to call the Sheriff’s Office. A deputy can ask the person to leave, he added, if the person is on private property and the homeowner does not want the person there.
The non-emergency number for the Sheriff’s Office is 941-316-1201.