Manatee County deputies search for armed intruder in Lakewood Ranch

Manatee County

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (WFLA) – Deputies in Manatee County need the public’s help identifying an armed intruder caught on camera lurking around inside someone’s pool area in Lakewood Ranch.

Deputies say the homeowner discovered the chilling video after realizing someone had cut through his screened enclosure.

The sheriff’s office says the man seen on camera slit the pool screen to get into the lanai area sometime around 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 1. Investigators have been speaking with neighbors in the Greenbrook community and trying to collect additional evidence since Tuesday, but now, they’re asking for help in tracking down the suspect.

The video shows a man covered head to toe casually walking around the screened lanai armed with some sort of rifle.

Deputies released a description of the suspect Friday morning.

Suspect description: Slim build, 5’05 – 5’11, approximately 150 to 180 lbs. Wearing a beanie-style hat, ear protection headphones, face covering, sweatpants, gloves and crocs.

“This video is disturbing because nobody wants to wake up and see that someone was walking around behind their lanai let alone walking around carrying what appears to be a very violent weapon,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Randy Warren. “We need people in that area to help us out. Somebody more than likely in the subdivision can identify who this person is and we need them to help us out.”

People who live in the Lakewood Ranch community are on high alert after learning about the armed burglary.

Richard Johnson tells 8 On Your Side the video is shocking.

“I have been here for six months and I have not heard anything like this before. Coming in late or leaving early in the morning I have no problems, I don’t look around to see if there are any problems so I mean, it is an eye-opener for me right now,” said Johnson.

Warren says the neighborhood where this happened is very safe and the sheriff’s office has not received any reports of similar incidents in the neighborhood, or elsewhere in Manatee County.

“We have reason to think that this probably someone who lives out there. We just want to find out who it is,” said Warren.

Manatee County deputies are seeking additional surveillance video in this case. The unknown suspect is facing an armed burglary to an occupied dwelling charge.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Manatee County Sheriff’s at 941-747-3011 or Crimestoppers at 866-634-TIPS.

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