VERO BEACH — Police officers were fairly certain they had recovered a stolen gas barbecue grill when they saw two intoxicated men pushing it up the road late one night this week.
The officers couldn't immediately connect to the grill to its home. However, police used a crime website called Uneighbors.com to send out an alert about the recovered grill and heard back from its owner within a day.
The series of events started Monday when two North Carolina men on foot in the 3700 block of Mockingbird Lane stole the grill from a home, police said. About 10:50 p.m., a patrolman saw the men pushing the grill in the 500 block of Fiddlewood Road. Jacob Cecelski, 19, of Carolina Beach, N.C., and Riley Brenner, 20, of Wilmington, N.C., wouldn't give the officer straight answers about where the grill came from and also gave him false names, police said.
Both were charged with misdemeanors for disorderly intoxication and giving false names while detained. They eventually admitted to stealing the grill, but couldn't remember which house, police said.
Officers on Thursday turned to Uneighbors.com and sent out an alert advising residents on or near Fiddlewood to check to see whether they were missing a grill, police spokesman Officer John Morrison said. The owner contacted police Friday morning and claimed the grill, Morrison said.
Police said they are looking into additional charges for Cecelski and Brenner.
The Vero Beach Police Department and other law enforcement agencies across Florida are using Uneighbors.com to send out crime alerts and advisories. Residents can register on the website to get the alerts as emails, text messages or phone calls.
More than 40,000 Indian River County residents are registered on the site.