GPD: Prowlers were targeting undercover officer


Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 10:36 p.m.

A plainclothes Gainesville police officer believes he had become a robbery target for two men he was investigating for loitering and prowling early Wednesday.

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Newman

Both men have criminal histories, including state prison sentences.

Donald Brett Newman, 26, of 1030 N.E. First Ave., and Xavier Trent Parker, 25, of 6900 S.W. 21st Lane, were each charged with loitering and prowling around apartment complexes. The two men were arrested at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday at 1125 S.W. Seventh Ave. by officer Edward J. Ratliff.

"Based on what we were told by the witnesses, it looked like these guys were looking for someone to rob," said Lt. Mike Schibuola, "and at one point it looked like they were going to rob an officer who was working covertly."

Police got involved after a witness called to report that when she drove into the parking garage at her apartment complex, she said she saw Newman jump behind a vehicle. She said he appeared to be hiding. The woman told police that she waited to see if he would reappear, and when he did not, she drove away and called 911 because she felt like she was going to be robbed.

Another witness told police he noticed that Newman and Parker seemed to be hiding behind another vehicle and watching him. The man told police that Newman and Parker began following him. He said he did not go into the parking garage because he thought he would be robbed.

In the men's arrest reports, Officer Ratliff wrote that he saw Newman and Parker walk behind an apartment building and, when they noticed him, changed their direction and began following him.

After police arrested the two men, Newman reportedly claimed that they had been looking for a bus and got lost. Newman and Parker also denied hiding in the parking garage.

Both men were booked into the Alachua County jail.

Contact Karen Voyles at 359-5656 or voylesk@gvillesun.com.

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