BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- Four Boynton Beach men were linked to five home burglaries in Deerfield Beach and Lighthouse Point thanks to a license plate recognition system bordering the two cities, police said.
The burglary suspects were arrested in Lighthouse Point Wednesday and, when some of the stolen items couldn't be identified by Lighthouse Point victims, police checked the city's license plate recognition system, said Lighthouse Point Police Chief Ross Licata.
Police discovered that the suspects' beige Toyota Corolla had driven in from the city's northern border with Deerfield Beach, and they contacted the Broward Sheriff's Office.
Authorities tied the suspects to three home burglaries along Southeast 14 t h Drive and 15 t h Street in Deerfield Beach's Cove neighborhood.
Jerquian Brown, 19; Terrence Wilkins, 21; Dominique Brown, 30 and Terrall Davis, 24, were all charged with multiple counts of armed burglary of an unoccupied dwelling.
The key to their loot: knock on residences' doors to confirm no one was home. Then, slip in and steal, police said.
They walked away with jewelry, other items and more than $1,000 in cash.
The men drove down from Boynton Beach and allegedly burglarized the Deerfield Beach homes before, according to a report, breaking into two homes on Northeast 22 n d Way and Northeast 39 t h Street in Lighthouse Point.
An alert resident spotted the suspects breaking into a home in the 3800 block of Northeast 22 n d Way and called police, according to a police report.
The men pulled into the driveway and Davis, the driver, got out of the car and walked up to the front door. After he knocked and got no response, Davis returned to his buddies in the car.
The witness, police say, then saw Wilkins and Jerquian Brown, who had a T-shirt or cloth wrapped around his hand, remove a screen from the front window. The pair then walked around the home where the witness lost sight of them.
He eventually saw the Corolla leave and Wilkins and Jerquian Brown walk away. An unmarked Lighthouse Point patrol car followed the Corolla and stopped the car in the 4900 block of North Federal Highway.
As Licata and a sergeant brought the witness to identify the suspects at the scene, they spotted Wilkins and Jerquian Brown on Northeast 22 n d Way. They were both detained.
Wilkins was found carrying a loaded handgun that had been reported stolen from Boynton Beach, the chief said.
Licata credits the license plate recognition system's 26 cameras with helping solve crimes in the city since 2010. Commissioners have approved the installation of 18 more cameras, which scan vehicles coming into the city, he said.
"It's been extremely beneficial for us in identifying criminal offenders that have targeted the residents of our city," the chief said.
Lighthouse Point this week received an award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police for that system.