Phone tips lead to burglar’s arrest

OKEECHOBEE — A detective said the sheriff’s office had “… no less than 20 phone calls” that identified a suspected burglar who has been arrested and is now behind bars.

Detective Howard Pickering, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), said soon after posting the photo of a man breaking into a N.W. 141st St. home in the Okeechobee News and online on the OSCO website and OkeechobeeNews.net, he had the suspect’s name.

Michael Gonzalez

Michael Gonzalez

Monday, April 4, the detective arrested Michael Gonzalez on felony charges of burglary of a dwelling while armed and grand theft-firearm.
Gonzalez, 45, S.E. Fifth St., is being held without bond in the Okeechobee County Jail.

According to Detective Pickering’s arrest report, March 20 surveillance video at the home pictured a man trying to open the front door around 9:45 p.m. That man had a sleeve tattoo on his left arm, added the investigator.

“He stops attempting to open the door and walks out of camera view,” stated the detective. “At approximately 9:57 p.m. it appears as though someone exits the rear of the residence.”

Detective Pickering said the home surveillance camera captured what appeared to be a Ford sports utility vehicle driving past the home at 9:41 p.m. Shortly after the suspect is seen leaving the home, that same vehicle is captured on video as it drove away.

OCSO Deputy Timothy Miller, who first responded to the home, found a kitchen window broken and its glass was found inside the home, pointed out the detective’s report.

The detective’s report went on to state that a .22 caliber revolver, two cow skin rugs, some art and a purse were taken from the home. Those items have a total value of $1,150.

The detective went on to state he also received calls from several OCSO deputies and detention deputies who identified Gonzalez as his suspect.

“Michael was a trustee when he was in jail the last time,” explained the detective.

A records check indicated Gonzalez pleaded no contest to charges of burglary and a possession of ammunition by a convicted felon on Dec. 14, 2015. He had been arrested on those charges in December of 2014.

Gonzalez was sentenced to 359 days in the county jail, then credited with 359 days for time served. He was also ordered to serve two years on probation.

None of the items reportedly stolen from the home have been recovered.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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