St. Petersburg Times Online: News of southern Pinellas County
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Police have suspect in string of burglaries

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times,
published December 13, 2001

ST. PETERSBURG -- Thirty-seven times in six weeks, a burglar has used a primitive but effective technique to break into gas stations and other businesses in western and central St. Petersburg. The burglar typically throws a concrete block through a window, steals cigarette cartons and scratch-off lottery tickets, and smashes cash registers on the floor looking for money.

This has happened so many times, police put together a surveillanceteam of officers to watch the burglar's likely targets at night. Police say they caught a burglar early Wednesday who is a suspect in this string of break-ins.

Rafael Ortiz, 41, was arrested after he broke into a meat market at 2927 Central Ave., police say.

Ortiz was charged in three burglaries Wednesday, including a Nov. 25 break-in at an Exxon station at 3061 First Ave. N where he was caught on videotape, police said.

Detectives will see if Ortiz's fingerprints match prints taken from the scenes of other burglaries.

Back to St. Petersburg area news
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Special Links
Mary Jo Melone
Howard Troxler

From the Times
South Pinellas desks
  • Author: Cheat on the job, not the kids
  • Police have suspect in string of burglaries
  • Plot to rob armored truck is a flop