HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – While Cindy Scott and her fiancé were sound asleep, their home security cameras were recording overnight on April 28.
“We were fortunate we’re still alive,” Scott told 8 On Your Side.
When they woke up, they realized one of their trucks was missing from the driveway and a 600-pound gun safe had been taken out of the garage.
Scott said they reviewed the home security footage and watched as a burglar rummaged through their home.
“The videos were crucial,” she said. “I mean so clear and good. And check all your locks twice, three times at night.”
At 2:25 a.m., the video released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office showed a suspect open the truck’s unlocked door.
“He had come with a multi functional device to break windows,” Scott said, “so I think had it been locked he probably would have broken in.”
After using a garage opener to enter, Scott said he took his shoes off before rummaging through her house of more than twenty years in Carrollwood.
After stealing bicycles, an Xbox, PS4 and TV, the man later returned with a second suspect who helped him steal the gun safe with a rifle and ammunition inside.
“It was a lever action rifle so i’m sure they’re disappointed,” Scott said.
As part of their investigation, deputies collected fingerprints off several items the suspect touched including a shooting target, but the most important piece of evidence came from the garage security camera.
“I’m really very happy there was one in the garage because he did not realize it was there and that’s what helped the police pinpoint where the dna and fingerprints would be,” Scott explained.
The sheriff’s office left a message letting them know deputies arrested 21-year-old Dakota Schroeder
“These suspects added insult to injury, not only violating these victims once by entering their vehicle but also entering their home and stealing from them twice in one night,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “This is a sad reminder of what can happen when you leave your vehicles unlocked. Whether you’re in your driveway or a public parking lot, the best way to protect your property is to lock it up.”
Schroeder is currently being held in jail with no bond and faces a long list of criminal charges including armed burglary and grand theft.
Thankful there has been an arrest, Scott and her fiancé are still shaken by what happened in their home.
“We don’t sleep now,” she said, “and we’re just trying to struggle through. I’m very glad they caught him and I hope they can catch the other person.”
Deputies are still searching for a second suspect who was dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt.
The sheriff’s office says the unknown suspect was seen driving a four-door Toyota Corolla. Deputies say the vehicle has dark window tint and the front passenger tire does not have a hubcap on it.
Anyone who recognizes this person is urged to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200.