A man was sentenced to 24 years prison for burglarizing two homes and still faces multiple charges for the burglaries of other homes in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Stephen Pitts, 27, was convicted Thursday of two counts of burglary of a dwelling and being in possession of burglary tools, after a four-day long trial. Immediately after the verdict, Circuit Judge Charles E. Roberts sentenced Pitts to 24 years in prison.
Pitts’ sentence will be consecutive to a 9-year prison sentence he is currently serving for 2014 child neglect and culpable negligence convictions.
“People in Sarasota and Manatee counties should sleep better tonight, knowing that their houses are safe from Stephen Pitts. Based on his criminal record, it’s clear that he was never going to stop committing burglaries until SSO and MSO stopped him,” Assistant State Attorneys Kate Darby Wallace and Ryan Felix said in an issued statement.
At the time of his arrest, Pitts already had nine prior convictions for vehicle burglaries in Hillsborough County.
Because Pitts was a suspect in so many residential burglaries, detectives with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office were able to obtain a search warrant that allowed them to place a GPS tracking device on his vehicle, according to a news release. On May 6, 2014, when Pitts drove his vehicle to Venice, detectives were able to monitor his movements.
Pitts was later arrested by the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office as he was driving away after he burglarized two homes. Stolen items from both homes were found in his vehicle.
Detectives were able to link Pitts with so many burglaries, after they identified his method of operation, according to authorities.
Detectives determined Pitts would break sliding glass doors, and would prop either door mats or patio furniture cushions against the bottom of the slider to muffle the sounds and protect himself from the broken glass, the release states.
Pitts was also known to target seasonal residents.
After Pitts was arrested, detectives were able to get a search warrant for his home and during their search recovered stolen items linked to several other burglaries in Venice.
Pitts is now facing five additional counts of burglary.