LAKE CITY, Fla. – The Lake City Police Department has worked numerous smash-and-grab style burglaries that occurred within close proximity to each other throughout November, according to a news release from police. The release said that in each case, victims’ vehicles had windows broken and items taken from inside. Most victims admitted that the items stolen had been in plain view at the time they were taken.
Many victims also had tinted windows, which investigators were able to examine to determine that they had been broken with the same object likely a small sledgehammer, the release said.
The release said on Saturday at 10:53 p.m., the Lake City Police Department responded to a burglary in progress at 396 NW Hillsboro St. According to the complainant, who was passing by the area, a subject was checking door handles on multiple vehicles and using the light on his cell phone to look inside vehicles. The release said, as officers responded, the suspect fled the scene but was found two blocks away and identified as 23-year-old Antonio Dequan Baker. Baker was wearing the same style of clothing witnesses had described.
The release said that when Baker was questioned about his activity, he denied any involvement in the burglaries. When asked why he was riding the bicycle that the suspect had last been seen using, he stated he had found it nearby and thought it had been abandoned. Shortly after, however, Baker was positively identified by witnesses. The release said, after he was detained, Baker admitted that he had been in the area, but identified a second individual as the actual suspect. According to Baker, the other person had been pulling on handles while he only watched from nearby.
According to Baker, the second suspect was also in possession of a red backpack. Witnesses, however had described Baker as carrying a red backpack. The release said officers in the area conducted a sweep and located a red backpack on the ground near the victim’s driveway. Inside it were black gloves and a small sledgehammer. Investigators compared window damage from previous cases with the sledgehammer that was found and concluded that it was likely the same instrument used in those cases.
The release said Baker was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted burglary and possession of burglary tools. He was transported to the Columbia County Jail, where a more thorough search found he had drugs hidden in his possession. He was additionally charged with smuggling contraband into a detention facility. He is currently being held on a $27,000 bond, with numerous additional burglary charges pending.