PCSO detectives are still investigating the case of a man wearing a VOTE tee shirt who was reportedly approaching residents and breaking into homes on Lafayette Boulevard in Oldsmar recently.
Detectives from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are currently investigating a case involving a mysterious man wearing a VOTE tee shirt who has reportedly been approaching residents and breaking into homes near downtown Oldsmar in recent weeks.
Detective from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are still investigating the case of a man wearing a VOTE tee shirt who was reportedly approaching residents and breaking into homes on Oldsmar’s Lafayette Boulevard recently.
The story first came to light last Tuesday night, after City Council member Gabby McGee asked PCSO Capt. Jack Peterson, commander of the North District station, if he had any new information on the reported break-in.
While he said he wasn’t aware of the details of that case at the time, Oldsmar Connect reached out to Capt. Peterson this week for an update on the incident.
“The case in question…occurred on 9/5/2016 between the hours of 0900 – 1500 (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) hours,” Capt. Peterson wrote via email on Wednesday. “The unknown suspect entered residence 426 LaFayette Blvd. through an sliding glass door. The unknown suspect ransacked the residence, but no items were missing.”
PCSO Capt. Jack Peterson (far left) poses along with his fellow officers at an Oldsmar City Council meeting in August 2016.
“Deputies did a neighborhood canvass and were advised an unknown black male approximately 30 years of age with a short buzz/fade haircut wearing red shorts and a red shirt with VOTE on it was knocking on doors encouraging citizens to vote for Trump. He was carrying a green plastic bag, possibly filled with coins.”
Peterson went on to say that “it is unknown if this is the same person who burglarized 426 LaFayette Blvd.,” and he added “the case is being worked by PCSO Burglary Detectives.”
The story has garnered quite a bit of attention from Oldsmar residents.
An Oldsmar Connect Facebook post on the initial incident has drawn dozens of comments, hundreds of shares and thousands of views in the past week, with some commenters saying they had similar encounters with the mysterious suspect.
“I RAN INTO THIS GUY!” Adam Rohrmann wrote on September 9. “When I read this and heard he had a VOTE t-shirt on, I thought this is just too weird of a coincidence.”
“I was riding my bike on Lafayette, Saturday morning around 9 a.m. There was a guy on the sidewalk in front of me, and he stood to the side as I passed him, and he told me, “Don’t forget to vote!” I thought it was an extremely odd thing to say to somebody. He had a plastic shopping bag in his hand, and as I came up behind him, I remember thinking it must have matchbox cars in it, as it rattled around. Black guy, slender, about 6’1″, 170lbs.”
A screen shot of the Pinellas County Crime Viewer map shows the recent PCSO calls in Oldsmar, including the reported burglary on Lafayette Boulevard at 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 5, 2016.
The burglary reports come on the heels of a rash of vehicle break-ins in the East Lake and Oldsmar area over the past several weeks.
A quick check of the Pinellas County Crime Viewer shows at least 10 reported incidents in Oldsmar since September 1, not including more than a dozen calls to the Walmart on Tampa Road.
In addition to the aforementioned burglary of a residence on Lafayette Boulevard at 9:00 a.m. on September 5, there was another burglary reported at 6:00 p.m. on the fourth in the 4800 block of Augusta Avenue, along with two trespassing calls, one case of grand theft, four vehicle burglaries and one stolen vehicle report.
Capt. Peterson has encouraged residents to lock all doors and windows, set alarms and be vigilant at all times.
“Unfortunately, vehicle burglaries seem to be a crime of opportunity, and we’re trying to educate as many people as we can to please lock your vehicles,” he said at the Sept. 6 meeting.
Stay with Oldsmar Connect for further details on the story as they become available.