Manatee County Deputies believe they've caught two people involved in a string of smash and grab burglaries that spanned four counties.
Louis Rivera and Scott Thibodeau face charges of burglary, criminal mischief, and possession of burglary tools. Thibodeau also faces a drug paraphernalia charge.
Investigators say they burglarized more than 20 convenience stores in Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, and Desoto Counties. In each case, the burglars drove a gold Saturn station wagon, smashed in the front door, then stole cigarettes, cash, and other items. Deputies say Rivera and Thibodeau can be seen on surveillance video recorded at many of those stores.
Manatee and Sarasota deputies teamed up with Palmetto Police to solve the cases. Investigators say the team witnessed Rivera and Thibodeau arrive at a BP gas station at 6812 14th St. W. in Bradenton, around 11:30 Wednesday night. They say they saw Rivera smash the door, then go inside and attempt to pry open the register.
Investigators say that more charges from other jurisdictions are likely.
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