Homeowner Finds Burglar Exiting Residence
On Thursday June 5, just before 1 p.m., Kristine Whitley and her son returned to their home on Hickory Hill Road in Brooksville to find a burglar running out the front door with a bag of their belongings.
The burglar, later identified as 33 year old Kevin Russel Bearden, dropped the bag of stolen property, jumped into an orange mid-sized vehicle, and fled.
Ms. Whitley immediately called the Hernando County Sheriff's Office to report the incident. She was able to provide the dispatcher with a very thorough description of the suspect and the vehicle that he left in, including a partial tag number. Deputies were dispatched to the scene and to neighboring streets to search for the vehicle.
Within approximately 30 minutes, deputies located the suspect and suspect vehicle on Baseball Pond Road. Both Ms. Whitley and her son were able to positively identify the driver and the vehicle as being present at their residence at the time of the burglary.
It should be noted that the deputy who located the suspect and suspect vehicle on Baseball Pond Road was Deputy Tommy Harris. Deputy Harris is a School Resource Deputy assigned to Springstead High School. During the summer months the School Resource Deputies are reassigned, as needed, to other parts of the agency. This was Deputy Harris' first day of his summer assignments as a Patrol Deputy. Deputy Harris was recently honored as the Deputy of the 1st Quarter of 2014.
While conducting their investigation, deputies learned that the vehicle the suspect had been operating, a 2004 burnt orange Pontiac, was a stolen vehicle.
The vehicle, along with the tag that had been placed on it, were both reported stolen to the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis said, "Using our resources wisely is something that my supervisors take seriously. Here is a perfect example of using a seasoned School Resource Deputy to augment the patrol function during the summer months. Although Deputy Harris is a well-respected law enforcement professional, it is still impressive, however, that he was able to make such a significant arrest within only a few hours of starting his summer assignment."
Deputies placed Kevin Bearden under arrest, charging him as follows:
- Grand Theft
- Burglary of a Dwelling.