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Martin County woman comes face-to face with burglar

Chief Deputy John Budensiek says deputies have seen 6 home burglary attempts in past few days
Posted at 5:49 PM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 17:49:51-05

HOBE SOUND, Fla. — A Martin County woman said she came face-to-face with a burglar inside her home in the middle of the afternoon, part of what deputies are calling a string of burglaries on the Treasure Coast.

Lillie Spurgeon said she was coming home around 12:30 p.m. Saturday with her 16-month-old child in her arms when she noticed something was off.

"The noise that I heard from inside wasn’t a normal noise if that makes sense," the 23-year-old woman said.

Spurgeon said when she unlocked her front door, she saw a man standing in her hallway holding a pillow case full of family belongings.

"He was standing literally right there," Spurgeon said, pointing to a few feet in front of her. "He pulled out a metal bar. I'm holding my son in this arm. I have a banana in this hand, and he just pulls out the metal bar and says something to me in Spanish. I screamed in his face and ran out the door and called 911."

Ring camera video from Spurgeon's home shows the man snooping around the outside her home just minutes before she walked in. She believes he went through the back of her house.

Suspect sought in home burglary of Lillie Spurgeon's home  in Hobe Sound. Nov. 6, 2023.jpg
Suspect sought in home burglary in Hobe Sound.

“He didn’t get anything of value. More just our sense of security was stolen," Spurgeon said. "Now we just have to look over our shoulder, keep the doors locked 24/7, we just don’t feel safe at the moment."

Martin County's Chief Deputy John Budensiek said it's one of six attempted home burglaries deputies have responded to throughout the county, including in Palm City, Hobe Sound and near Stuart.

“It's so hard to go to sleep at night. Even with the doors locked, you just don't know," Spurgeon said.

Martin County's Chief Deputy John Budensiek said the suspects are believed to have come from south of Martin County. Nov. 8, 2023
Martin County's Chief Deputy John Budensiek said the suspects are believed to have come from south of Martin County.

Budensiek said they believe the suspects are coming from down south, and don't believe the burglaries are related.

“There’s more people here now than there’s ever been. The bad guys know that," Budensiek said.

Budensiek said nobody was injured in any of the incidents, but said it could have ended very differently.

“They can end with violent encounters and that’s extremely alarming to us," Budensiek said.

Budensiek added in five out of the six attempts, home security systems saved the day.

“That prevented five of these victims from having anything stolen," Budensiek said.

Over the weekend, the sheriff's office sent out a text alert to residents of the county, warning everyone to lock their doors, set their alarms, turn on their cameras, and stay vigilant.

Spurgeon said after her experience, she's investing in a stronger security system.

"Like an alarm system inside the house and just try to keep the doors locked more, 'cause its broad daylight, middle of the afternoon, just insane," Spurgeon said.

Deputies say the suspect in Spurgeon's house fled on foot, and are asking anyone who recognizes him to call the sheriffs office.

Deputies urge everyone to continue safety efforts because they are working, and remind residents to call 911 if you see or hear anything suspicious.