Police say thieves tripped up as they tried to loot Best Buy
Published: Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 5:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 5:47 p.m.
A scheme to burglarize an electronics store in Gainesville that relied on an unsophisticated tool — a sledgehammer — was thwarted early Sunday morning by police and two pieces of advanced technology.
A Gainesville Police report gave the following account: Breyon Gilbert, 22, Norris Richardson, 24, and a 16-year-old (who isn't being named because of his age) all left Jacksonville around 12:30 a.m. in a vehicle that was later reported stolen and headed for the Best Buy store at 3750 SW Archer Road.
They arrived around 2 a.m., and Gilbert and the minor began using a sledgehammer and wire cutters to break through the concrete wall on the northwest side of the closed business while Richardson acted as a lookout, police say.
About 45 minutes later, they managed to get into the store where they tripped the store's alarm, and surveillance cameras began capturing their images.
At around 3 a.m., GPD Officer Mark Sullivan arrived and saw one of the suspects climbing through the hole. Numerous officers and Alachua County Sheriff's deputies converged on the scene and began setting up a perimeter.
The cameras showed Gilbert and the minor walking through the store and putting merchandise into a shopping cart that Gilbert pushed. They went in and out several times as they piled up the loot — 34 new iPads, five MacBook Pro boxes and a desktop MacBook — worth a total of $27,000. When the suspects saw the police, they ran off.
The minor, who was wearing a white hockey mask during the burglary, was arrested by Officer Lisa Orengo as he ran out a store entrance. Police showed him a photo lineup, and he identified both of his co-conspirators.
Meanwhile, two K-9 units and a GPD/ASO Joint Aviation Unit helicopter arrived and joined the search for the remaining two suspects. Using their Forward Looking Infrared Radar, the copter crew picked up a heat signature in thick woods and swamp east of the old Windmeadows Mobile Home Park.
They directed the K-9 teams through the swamp area as they watched from above. At around 7 a.m., after pushing through mud and debris, Officer Matt Holt and K-9 Rua found Gilbert. He had been hiding under the swamp water and coming up for air.
The police dog captured Gilbert, who was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Officers were still looking for Richardson.
Records show that Gilbert has been arrested for committing burglary at Best Buys in the Jacksonville, Ocala, Daytona Beach areas and was implicated in a burglary of Best Buy in Gainesville in 2011.
Gilbert was arrested on numerous charges: Burglary, grand theft, resisting arrest without violence, possession of burglary tools, conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was being held without bond Sunday at the Alachua County jail.
The minor was arrested and taken to the Juvenile Detention Center.