A Leesburg pair of suspected burglars was arrested for loitering when law enforcement found them crouched behind a dumpster at Sheriffs Ranches Thrift Store in Leesburg.
Officers responded to Sheriffs Ranches Thrift Store, located at 27900 U.S. Highway 27, regarding a passerby stating they saw two people, later identified as 48-year-old Steven Paul Spickerman and 39-year-old Jennifer Theresa Stockbridge, burglarizing the business around 11:52 p.m. Tuesday, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department.
A perimeter was established around the store as soon as officers arrived. As they searched the area for any suspicious persons or signs of burglary, one of the officers spotted Spickerman and Stockbridge crouched down trying to hide themselves behind the dumpster at the back of the closed business. Both were brought out and handcuffed for investigation detention, the report said.
The pair was then separated for interviews. Spickerman advised he was searching through the dumpster for any items of value, and he denied ever having tried to enter any of the businesses. He stated they hid behind the dumpster due to not knowing what vehicles were driving toward them, the report said.
Stockbridge also stated she was looking through the dumpster for items of value. She denied trying to enter any of the businesses and explained they hid because of her feeling shame for looking through dumpsters, the report said.
During the investigation, officers learned that all businesses in the plaza were secure and did not appear to have been tampered with. The thrift store was closed for the evening, but the gate to the dumpster had been made to be ajar. It had a signage posted warning against trespassing, the report said.
A bicycle used by Spickerman and Stockbridge was found behind a box truck parked in the back of the business near the dumpster and out of the public view. Both parties concealed themselves upon seeing law enforcement. They both had ample opportunity to reveal themselves but continued to hide in hopes of remaining undetected, the report said.
As such, Spickerman and Stockbridge were placed under arrest for loitering and prowling. The former was on probation out of Orange County for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and was thus held without bond at the Lake County Jail. Spickerman was also taken to LCJ but with bond set at $500.