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Police: Tips lead to arrest of Gainesville burglar

Burglary caught on video; Man scared off, nothing stolen from home

Booking photo of Edward Wittmann
Booking photo of Edward Wittmann

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After posting surveillance footage Monday showing a man breaking into a home on NW 39th Avenue, Gainesville police said tips led to the arrest of a suspect.

The video showed the man, later identified by police as Edward Wittmann, 45, trying the doors of the home and ringing the doorbell before retrieving a crow bar and trying to wedge and kick the door open.

Police said it appeared that the alarm scared Wittmann away before he stole anything.

The Gainesville Police Department posted the home's surveillance video to its Facebook page, asking for tips to identify the man. They said tips pointed them to Wittmann, who was positively identified by his wife.

An Alachua County detective working a similar case said his victim confirmed that the man in the Gainesville police video was the same one who had been at her house.

Wittmann was stopped and taken to the Gainesville police station, where he was charged with burglary of an unoccupied home, possession of burglary tools with intent to use them and driving on a suspended license.

Police said when Wittmann was picked up, he was wearing the same shorts seen in the GPD video. The shorts were collected as evidence.

"Thanks to the many citizens who submitted tips that helped identify this suspect," GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said.