Alert neighbor helps nab career criminal in Hernando County

SPRING HILL, Fla. - (WFLA) - When Eric Ford heard and saw something that didn't seem right in his Spring Hill neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, he did the right thing. He called 911. 

"I heard glass falling again and I looked over in that direction and I could see what looks like someone climbing in a window of their house," Ford told the operator and added, "I just want to be a good citizen and report this, is all."

Ford was right.  There was someone breaking into the home on Newhope Road. 

When deputies arrived moments later, they spotted 47-year-old Randy Ross walking nearby. 

Initially he was cooperative with the deputies, said Hernando County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Denise Moloney. 

"Stood there, spoke to the deputies a few minutes and put his backpack on the hood," said Moloney.  "But then he decided that wasn't for him. He wasn't staying and took off running."

By that time, deputies had saturated the area responding to the "burglary in progress" call. Several of them saw Ross minutes later. 

"One of our detectives spotted him running through the yards and he told him to stop," said Moloney.  "And a couple of our other detectives made contact with him and placed him under arrest."

Joshua McGrew owns the home where the break-in occurred. He's thankful neither he, nor his wife and kids were at home at the time.  

"I"m unhappy he chose my house. I"m just glad nobody got hurt. I'm glad that everything that was stolen was returned," McGrew said, adding had Ross made it away with his belongings, he would've had quite the surprise when seeing what he had.  

"He grabbed what looked like a jewelry box and it was just full of little momentos from my childhood.  It was junk. I mean, like, there was a bag of movie tickets from movies that I've seen."

That pile of used movie tickets now has Ross in a heap of trouble. 

He's now facing burglary, possession of burglary tools and resisting arrest charges. 

Records indicate he had just been released from Florida State Prison last year after serving a 15-year sentence on a series of burglary charges. 

Deputies describe him as a career criminal, whose adult record dates back to 1987. In addition to burglary, Ross has served time for robbery, kidnapping and grand theft.

Moloney thinks, if and when he becomes a free man this time, he may want to consider another profession. 

"Obviously he's not very good at what he's doing because he's going to be going back to jail now, if not prison."

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