Police: Burglary suspect with 3-year-old son arrested

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of George Sullivan
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of George Sullivan

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 30-year-old man made his first appearance in court Tuesday after police said he stole a chainsaw from a Westside garage with his 3-year-old son steps behind him.

Jacksonville police arrested George Sullivan on Monday night after News4Jax aired surveillance video showing a man walking into a garage and taking a $560 chain saw. Sullivan's bond was set at $140,000 on three burglary charges.

The theft happened Wednesday on Cliff Cottage Drive near Blanding Boulevard and Collins Road.

Police said Sullivan brought his 3-year-old son with him.


"The suspect admitted to going into the listed garage and taking the listed item (chain saw) from inside of the garage," an officer wrote in the arrest report. "The suspect then took the listed item and pawned."

Police said Sullivan pawned the chain saw at Jimmy's Jewelry and Pawn on Old St. Augustine Road.

"The suspect admitted to pawning the item and knowing it was stolen," the police report reads. "The suspect said he has a young son and had to take items to feed him. The suspect said his son was supposed to stay in the listed vehicle but as he walked up to take the items he noticed that his son had gotten out of the vehicle and followed him up to the residence."

Samuel Onwujiobi, who reported the incident and recorded it on surveillance video, said he was relieved to hear of the arrest. He said he was worried about the safety of the boy.

Police said Sullivan had been a person of interest in another case on Rampart Ridge Circle.

In that incident, the resident told police he was startled when he found Sullivan in his garage holding his red gas can.

"The victim stated he was scared for himself and the children inside so he did not want to confront the suspect," the police report said. "The victim then yelled at the suspect to leave and the suspect fled carrying his red gas can."

Police said after Sullivan left, the homeowner noticed other lawn equipment had been stolen.

Police have arrested Sullivan previously on charges of grand theft and dealing in stolen property. He's being held at the Duval County jail.

His 3-year-old son, seen in the video at the scene of the crime, has been put into the custody of his grandmother, according to JSO spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda.

The Department of Children and Families told Channel 4 Tuesday night that it has begun gathering information about the incident.

"When you have a situation where a parent or caregiver is taking a child with them and committing a crime it is putting that child at risk. So that a major concern and we need to investigate not only this incident but if there's any other issues regarding this child. You wonder, what going on at home? What's happening here? Are there any other family members who might be aware of concerns? Maybe they don't know about other issues regarding this child. So we've got to look at this further and certainly as a result of your reporting we are investigating this thoroughly," said DCF spokesperson, John Harrell.

Harrell told Channel 4 that DCF found it necessary to investigate to get an idea of the child's living situation.

"Ultimately we're looking for facts, we're looking for evidence. In these types of cases naturally you'd ask if there another parent, was that parent aware of what was going on? Maybe that parent didn't know about this. Is it a situation where maybe that person who did this with the child was an uncle, was some other relative. So there's a lot of questions we will have. Ultimately the facts will determine what actions we need to take," said Harrell.