PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - For 29 years, Luis Colon has been in law enforcement. So when he came home from vacation Sunday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy knew he needed help from his police peers.
Thieves had broken into his Port St. Lucie home through a back door. That door now sits in Colon's front yard, awaiting trash pickup.
As Colon made his way through each room in his house, he pointed to the empty jewelry boxes in the bedroom. While he was disheartened to lose what was inside, what really had him concerned were that his rifles were gone, and so were his police uniforms that were hanging in his closet.
"I don't want them to fall into the wrong hands," said Colon.
The crooks even managed to steal Colon's personal car from his garage.
"Unfortunately some kids decide that it's easier for them to steal something than to actually work," said Colon.
But it was something that the suspects left behind, on the now discarded blinds, that led to their capture.
Over at the Port St. Lucie Police Department, CSI Jeanine Hickox pointed to a computer screen. The screen is split in two. Identical thumbprints are on each side. Hickox lifted the prints from the broken door blinds. When she put them through the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, she came back with several hits.
Two names matched at the highest level, 18 year-old Peter Harris and 17 year-old Terrance Walker.
"It's definitely a rush when I get a match especially that many on a particular case," said CSI Hickox.
Colon's car, which was equipped with a LoJack device, was located at an abandoned home just around the corner from Colon's house. All of the stolen property, except for the jewelry, was found inside that house.
Deputy Colon is glad to know that when he takes off his uniform at night, others in uniform are there to protect him.
"I can't say enough about the Port St. Lucie Police Department along with the sheriffs office, they did an outstanding job. I can't praise them enough."
Both teens who were arrested are known gang members and face charges of armed burglary and grand theft.
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