Burglar hits home again while police are present
TV left behind, then stolen again as police investigate
August 29, 2009
Steve Fluegge was shocked when he walked downstairs in his North Hill home about 6 a.m. Friday and came face to face with a burglar in his living room.
But he was even more shocked when, less than three hours later, the burglar returned and swiped a television he left in the backyard — while a police investigator was still on the scene.
"While they were inside processing the scene, the thieves came back and took it," Fluegge said.
"They were all very embarrassed," said Fluegge, 57.
Fluegge said he discovered the burglar inside his home in the 1400 block of North Spring Street shortly after waking up Friday morning.
"I said, 'What the hell are you doing in my house?' " Fluegge said.
The man ran from the house and fled across the backyard, disappearing into the early morning fog.
"We called the police and they were here within just a minute or so. There were policemen all over the place," Fluegge said.
Pensacola Police Department Capt. Jay Worley said several police units canvassed the neighborhood looking for the suspect, even using a K-9 to track the man's scent. But after looking for more than an hour, they gave up the search.
The burglar made off with several items, including Fluegge's wallet, a watch and a Nintendo 64 video game system. But he left one of the biggest items — the Fluegges' 42-inch plasma television — sitting near a fence in their backyard.
"It's a big, heavy TV. It probably weighed close to 100 pounds. You're not going to carry that thing a mile or two down the road," Fluegge said.
A crime scene technician arrived on the scene about 8 a.m.
Worley said the technician didn't want to move the TV before he dusted it for fingerprints, but he couldn't dust it immediately because it was damp with dew. He covered it with a plastic tarp and left it in the backyard to dry while he worked inside the house.
But when the technician returned about 45 minutes later, the tarp had been tossed aside, and the TV was gone.
"It looks bad and everything, but there's no way it could have been foreseen that someone would come back and do that," Worley said.
"We're doing everything we can to locate the suspect and not mess up the evidence. ... We had no reason to believe the TV would be stolen again," Worley said.
Worley said Friday afternoon that police were still searching for the man, and they hope that crime scene processing from inside the home will link them to a suspect.
Fluegge said the Pensacola Police Department offered to pay for the stolen TV, which cost about $1,000, and overall, he's in fairly good spirits about the ordeal.
He said he and his wife, Bridget, have lived in the home for 15 years, and it never had been broken into before. The couple said they're still shocked at the brazenness of the thief, who came back even though a crime scene van was parked out front.
Bridget Fluegge describes how a robber came back and stole their TV while the police were investigating the break-in at their North Hill Home. The TV was by the fence and part of a crime scene when the thief came back to get the 42-inch flat-screen TV while the police were inside the home.
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