LAKELAND (FOX 13) - More than $200,000 in stolen jewelry, electronics and pricey household items were recovered today from a Lakeland apartment as a result of a search warrant executed by sheriff's offices in four Bay-area counties.
After a month-long investigation into a string of burglaries in up-scale central Florida neighborhoods, police from six jurisdictions teamed up to set up surveillance teams and quickly zeroed in on two suspects.
The property was recovered in Dustin Peters' Lakeland apartment. Both Peters and Harry Daymon, also of Lakeland, were arrested in connection to the burglaries. The pair face numerous charges including armed burglary of a dwelling and grand theft.
Police say they identified the men in surveillance video footage and actually followed them to a Pasco county home where they were caught in the act and arrested.
"They would case the locations and try to find out if someone was there or was not there. They'd then go back to the house, kick the door in, take what they wanted and flee," said Hillsborough County Sheriff Major Alan Hill.
Hill says the men were armed with handguns when they were caught attempting to burglarize yet another home. Police believe Peters and Daymon are responsible for more than 30 burglaries across Hillsborough, Lake, Orange, Pasco and Polk counties that took place between December 2015 and January 2016.
Today several victims arrived at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to reclaim their stolen belongings.
"I never thought I'd see these again," Larry Richards said smiling while sorting through a table of recovered watches. His Valrico home was burglarized in broad daylight last month. Richards says the thieves made off with his collection of more than 50 watches as well as more than $25,000 in jewelry belonging to his wife.
"I was devastated. More for my wife's jewelry than anything else. We've been married 45 years…and all the stuff I've bought her over the years," said Richards.