The victims – a couple with a newborn baby - called the Sheriff’s Office Saturday morning at 8 a.m. to report their vehicle gone, along with two Iphones, a laptop computer and a wallet with cash and credit cards. The male victim said he woke up at 5 a.m. Saturday when he heard noises inside his home, an apartment at 112th Street and U.S. One in Marathon.
He said he went out into the living room and found a black male standing there. He said he recognized him as a local man he’d seen around town. He confronted the man – later identified as 28 year old Phernando Hill. Hill told him he was in the wrong apartment and left. The victim went back to bed, not realizing Hill had taken his belongings and his car. He later told officers he usually locks his apartment door, but must have left it unlocked on this one occasion.
From the victim’s description of the suspect, Deputy Anthony O’Dea and Detective Nicholis Whiteman believed the suspect to be Hill, whom they had had many encounters with before.
Detective Whiteman went to Hill’s residence on 41st Street, where he lives with his mother. His mother said Hill told her he might be in trouble. She told the detective he could find the victim’s vehicle at Gulfside Village shopping center, but she didn’t know where her son was.
Hill was found, with the stolen vehicle, at the shopping center. In the trunk of the car was the stolen laptop computer. Hill was arrested. He was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling, grand theft and grand theft of an automobile. He was booked into jail. The victim later positively identified Hill as the suspect from a photo line-up.
The victim later contacted Detective Whiteman and told him he used a computer application and located one of his stolen Iphones. Detective Whiteman went to a residence on 114th Street, where the application indicated the phone was. The occupant told the detective Hill had been there earlier and had left a bag there. Inside the bag, the detective found one of the stolen Iphones and one of the victim’s credit cards.