Since late January, the Port St. Lucie Police Department has been investigating a half-dozen burglaries at residential construction sites. Now, thanks to security cameras on residents’ homes, one suspect has been arrested and at least two burglaries might be solved.
The police department arrested Thomas Paul Sauer, 50, of 307 SW Belmont Circle, on Monday. He faces numerous charges, including two felony counts of burglary to an unoccupied dwelling and two felony counts of grand theft. He is being held at the county jail in lieu of $77,000 bail.
According to police, images captured on security cameras at two different sites helped police identify the burglary suspect. In both cases, a red SUV – later identified as a 2005 Hyundai Tucson with a plate registered to Sauer – was seen at the scene of the burglaries.
In one case, the video showed the Tucson backing into the garage of a home under construction on SW Dalton Avenue. A washer and dryer were taken from the home, which is being built by DR Horton.
Another camera caught the SUV – and an image of the vehicle’s license plate – at a home on SW Homeland Road. There, two neighbors confronted the suspect later identified as Sauer, who was loading a refrigerator into the back of the SUV.
For his part, Sauer told the neighbors that he was taking the fridge because he had installed it and it was too big and wouldn’t fit. The refrigerator was a Samsung valued at $1,800. They grew suspicious and called the contractor for the home and notified police.
Armed with security images, the investigator passed the photos along to officers on road patrol. An officer spotted a vehicle matching the description and called it in.
Officers arrived and arrested Sauer. During his arrest, Sauer told police he did steal the fridge and the washer and dryer, according to a statement police released.
“Sauer also mentioned that he was like Robin Hood,” the release stated, though it did not elaborate.
From the Port St. Police Department:
Port St. Lucie currently has 888 new construction permits within the City limits. Police are asking the public’s help in cracking down on construction site burglaries. A few of examples of suspicious activity at a construct site are: construction material being removed from property, persons on construction site after business hours, and persons inside a house under construction after business hours.
Police are asking for residents near a construction site to call in any suspicious activity to 911 or PSLPD non-emergency number 772-871-5001.