Dogs chase suspected Christmas gift thief, police say

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 7:11 p.m.

Barking dogs chased a man out of a house where he was trying to steal Christmas presents early Tuesday morning, according to an arrest report.

Timothy Devon Lawrence, 36, of 645 Waldo Road, had gone into a house in the 3200 block of Northwest Sixth Street around 3 a.m. and had loaded 18 packages in bins by the front door, according to the Gainesville Police Department.

Lawrence — who was previously convicted of armed robbery, burglary and aggravated assault — had a .380-caliber pistol in his waistband, the report noted.

The residents were upstairs asleep when their dogs were barking. The woman opened the bedroom door and the dogs ran downstairs, chasing the burglar out of the house.

An officer responding to a 911 call saw a man — later identified as Lawrence — walking from behind a bush one house south of the site of the burglary. The report said he was covered in beggarweeds and wearing one sock.

A police dog followed a scent from the home through bushes to Lawrence, the report states.

At the house, police saw that the woman's purse had been moved and had a dirty sock around the strap, possibly to prevent fingerprints from being left on it.

In addition to the presents, the victims' PlayStation and Wii video game consoles had been loaded into a bag, police reported. The estimated total value of the items was $1,000.

Lawrence told police he was walking from a housing area to Shands and stopped in the backyard of the home to urinate, according to the report. He saw an open window and went in only to steal change, the report states. He denied loading up the Christmas presents.

Lawrence was arrested on various charges including armed burglary, grand theft and possession of concealed weapon by a felon.

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