MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- You hear it all the time. Law enforcement agencies stress to the community ‘if you see something, say something.’
In Martin County, deputies say they’re seeing more people speaking up about suspicious activity and it is leading to more arrests, according to Sheriff William Snyder.
Friday night, a vigilant Stuart business owner called 911 when he heard something suspicious may be happening near his business near Indian Street.
“I just got a call from my daughter in law and she said there was a suspicious car parked on our dead end street,” the called said to dispatchers.
It’s something Snyder knows some people might turn a blind eye to. This man decided to play it safe and alert authorities.
“She said it just seemed kind of suspicious,” the caller said.
Within minutes, deputies responded to the area near Indian Street and Dixie Highway at Legacy Marine.
That included K9 deputy Billy Baker.
“Usually at 1 in the morning, no one should be on this road,” Baker said. It’s mainly businesses and not residential.
Deputies found two suspicious vehicles, and other suspicious activity.
“When I got here the fence was cut open and you could see where [thieves] were working to get in, to get something out,” Baker said.
An incident report states a Sergeant on scene saw one man run from the area of the cut fence. He instructed deputies to establish a perimeter.
A K9 tracked down one of the suspects, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, 40, who was hiding in a bush, according to deputies. He was treated for injuries sustained by the K9.
Other investigators, with the help of the St. Lucie County chopper and Stuart Police K-9 unit, spotted a suspicious truck driving in the area.
The car was stopped, and deputies arrested Roger Richard Bourgoine, 40, and Charles Bernard Manchester, 42.
All three men, two from Miami-Dade county and one from Polk County, were arrested for Burglary of a structure and Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle.
Baker says this could have had a different outcome had no one called 911.
“There’s a good chance that they may not have been caught,”
Snyder says this case is a great example of the importance of calling authorities when you see anything suspicious.
“That phone call resulted in 3 felony arrests and the recovery of property. Without that initial call, we would have just had a hole in the fence and missing property,” Snyder said.
He says his night team has been making nearly 100 arrests each month, largely thanks to community help.
The three men will also face an additional charge for committing a crime across county lines, according to Snyder.