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Monday, May 10, 2021

Leesburg man caught on video burglarizing occupied home

Ryan Ryan Witkoski
Ryan Ryan Witkoski

A Leesburg man was arrested after he allegedly burglarized a house with people sleeping inside.

Ryan James Witkoski, 28, of 11415 Lake Eustis Drive, was charged Friday with unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling and second-degree petit theft (first offense).

A Lake County sheriff’s deputy responded April 19 to a residence on Virginia Drive, where surveillance cameras captured a light-colored Honda Insight with a distinguishable black rear bumper pull into the driveway at 11:06 p.m. the previous night, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The video showed a slender white male – later identified as Witkowski – get out of the vehicle with a flashlight and walk north around the left side of the residence. In the video, Witkoski seen to have a distinct star-shaped tattoo on his right elbow and what appears to be another tattoo on his back, just above the shirt, the report said.

At the time of the burglary, there were four people sleeping inside the residence. Witkoski reportedly stole a wallet that contained an identification card, credit cards and $50 in cash. The total value of items in the theft was $88. Witkoski left behind a hat and jacket, along with a baggie containing suspected prescription narcotics, according to the report.

A be-on-the-lookout bulletin was distributed and a deputy saw the vehicle pulling into the RaceTrac store at 2115 U.S. Hwy. 441 shortly after 4:30 p.m. Friday. The deputy saw Witkoski had a star-shaped tattoo on his right elbow as he got out of the vehicle, the report said.

After being read his Miranda warning, Witkoski said he should have been asleep all at his grandmother’s house, but he spontaneously said he got into an argument with his grandmother and drove around to cool off. He later confirmed the argument took place the night of the burglary, according to the report.

When Witkoski was shown the bulletin photos from the surveillance video, he admitted the car looks like his. He also said the suspect looked like him but denied it was him. Witkoski said if it was him in the photo, he would have been wearing a hat because he always wears one. The deputy noted Witkoski was wearing a hat when he got out of the vehicle and left it behind inside the residence, the report said.

Witkoski did not allow deputies to search his vehicle, so it was sealed for evidence preservation and towed to a secure lot. Witkoski’s mother arrived and was told he was arrested and his vehicle was being held as evidence. After being shown the photographs, Witkoski’s mother confirmed the person in the photos was her son and confirmed it was her son’s vehicle, according to the report.

Witkoski was taken to the Lake County Jail, where he was being held Tuesday on $16,000 bond. He will appear in Lake County Court on May 17.

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