The Sarasota Police Department is investigating two burglaries Wednesday after an AK-47 assault rifle was stolen from one home and an AR-7 Henry repeating rifle was taken from another residence along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said in a press conference Thursday afternoon there is a national threat against police officers. She spoke of social media threats encouraging people to attack, injure and kill law enforcement officers.
“I take that very seriously and, yes, we believe law enforcement officers have a target on them,” the police chief said. “And I’m very concerned about their safety and will share with you that I’m doing everything that I can to ensure that our police officers are safe and that there are resources on the street to keep them safe, and our community safe.”
According to a report, the first burglary occurred in the 5200 block of Old Bradenton Road in Sarasota. An AK-47 was stolen along with two 40-round magazines and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
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“That concerned me very much and we have been actively investigating the case since the burglary occurred,” DiPino said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “In a short period right after that, we discovered and reported another burglary took place and a second weapon, a rifle, was stolen in a burglary.”
The second burglary took place in the 2100 block of Sixth Street in Sarasota.
According to a report, the first burglary victim told deputies she returned from work at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to find her home ransacked. The victim reported weapons and ammunition missing from the home, including $1,300 in cash.
I take that very seriously and, yes, we believe law enforcement officers have a target on them. And I’m very concerned about their safety and will share with you that I’m doing everything that I can to ensure that our police officers are safe and that there are resources on the street to keep them safe, and our community safe.
Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino
Police said every room in the house was ransacked, beds flipped and dressers emptied. All kitchen cabinets were open and contents thrown on the floor. The refrigerator was open and contents rifled.
Police reported the burglary suspect entered through a broken window in the front porch and exited from the back door.
“We are asking citizens that may have any information about the whereabouts of these weapons, or any suspects that could have been involved in these burglaries, to please contact the Sarasota Police Department,” DiPino said. Anyone with information should contact Detective Darrell Nixon at 941-650-1437.
The CrimeStoppers are offering a reward of up to a $3,000 for information leading to arrests in these incidents.
DiPino said detectives have a strong lead in the case of the stolen AR-7 rifle.
“What we need is as much information from our citizens as possible and we believe in our community and know that they will come forward if they have information,” she said.
In the second burglary onevictims said he the crime took place between noon and 4 p.m. Wednesday. He told police he must have left his bedroom sliding glass doors unlocked. The victim said he came home and found the front door cracked open. Inside the home, the victim’s closet doors were partially open and his “Obama phone” (flip phone) was missing. Along with the rifle, a backpack containing 700 rounds, the title to his scooter, a BB gun and a pack of menthol 100s were missing.
After speaking to organizers of a community conversation supposed to be held Wednesday, DiPino said a decision was made for the safety of the community and police officers to reschedule it. The event will now be held at 6:30-8:30 p.m. July 25 from at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, 1845 34th St., Sarasota.
“I couldn’t feel comfortable knowing that an AK-47 with 1,000 rounds was on our streets in a close proximity to where the meeting was to take place,” she said.