A Leesburg man was jailed Thursday after being accused of breaking into a group home where he had once lived.
Leesburg Police were called to a residence that serves as a group home in the 1600 block of Sterns Drive shortly after 11 a.m. and when they arrived, a resident told them he discovered his box fan missing from his bedroom when he woke up. He said he became suspicious because his bedroom door was open and it had been secured when he went to bed the prior evening between 10 p.m. and midnight.
The man told officers he was the only one in the residence when he went to sleep and was positive he secured every door and window. But he said after checking the house, he discovered multiple open bedroom doors and various lights throughout the residence turned on. He said he also found an exterior window that had been pushed open until the seal securing it had failed, a Leesburg Police report states.
The man said a couch located in a common room had been slightly moved and the camera in the living room had been unplugged. But he said nothing else appeared to be out of place or missing, the report says.
Officers spoke with the homeowner, who said he would review security camera footage and also go to the residence to see if any other items had been stolen. He called officers later in the day to tell them that he had observed a former resident of the group home, 20-year-old Thomas James Falzone, on the video footage. He said Falzone entered the living room and unplugged the camera at about 1:18 a.m., the report says.
Officers made contact with the homeowner at the residence at about 5 p.m. and he reported the following items valued at about $740 to be missing:
- Four twin mattresses valued at about $400;
- A Lawn-Boy mower valued at about $100;
- Two pairs of sneakers valued at about $60;
- One twin bed frame valued at about $60;
- One twin box-spring valued at about $40;
- Two values valued at about $60; and
- One box fan valued at about $20.
The homeowner told officers that after Falzone was removed from the group home, he started staying a residence located directly across the street. Officers attempted to make contact with him at the residence and spoke with the homeowners, who confirmed Falzone was staying with them and was inside the home.
The homeowners gave officers permission to come inside and they located Falzone on the back porch. He was taken into custody and placed inside a patrol vehicle while officers received permission to search the residence, the report says.
The officers then recovered three twin mattresses, a Lawn-Boy mower, a twin mattress bed frame, a twin box-spring, two 20-inch glass lamps with shades, one pair of black sneakers and one white box fan. The homeowners denied ownership of all of the items and said they weren’t aware of how or when they were brought into their residence, the report says.
All of the recovered items were turned over to the owner of the group home. Falzone was transported to the Leesburg Police Department for booking and then to the Lake County Jail, where he was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling (forced entry) and grand theft. He was being held on $12,000 bond and is due in court Oct. 12 at 8:30 a.m. to answer to the charges, jail records show.