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Deputies: Grinch steals from 6 over Christmas weekend

24-year-old connected to 6 burglaries caught in Putnam County, deputies say

Booking photo of Matthew Hurlburt
Booking photo of Matthew Hurlburt

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – A 24-year-old Putnam County grinch has been arrested in connection with at least six burglaries over the Christmas weekend, deputies said Tuesday.

The crime spree began on Dec. 23 and ended with the Christmas Day arrest of Matthew Hurlburt, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

South district deputies and property crimes detectives investigated the case in which Hurlburt has been charged with six counts of burglary and six counts of theft.

The burglaries took place in the Satsuma, Pomona Park, Crescent City and Welaka areas of southern Putnam County. 

In the first burglary, which took place on Whitney Street, Hurlburt stole a 2015 John Deere Gator from a shed, deputies said. Next, Hurlburt took credit cards, personal items and a camera from an unlocked vehicle on County Road 308, according to investigators.

Hurlburt then went to a Dawson Avenue residence where he took a battery charger and narcotic medication out of an unlocked pickup truck along with jewelry and a television out of the home, deputies said.

Hurlburt’s crime spree then moved to Welaka, where he unlawfully removed a knife, insulated cup and a camera from a vehicle on Moonlite Drive, deputies said.

Finally, Hurlburt stole another camera and a stereo system from an unlocked Chevrolet Trailblazer on West Main Street, according to the PCSO.

The crime spree came to an end after deputies responded to a disturbance call between Hurlburt and an acquaintance, investigators said.

During the disturbance, the acquaintance told deputies that Hurlburt had been driving around on a John Deere Gator earlier in the day.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said people need to lock their homes and cars. He said boxes being tossed out after Christmas gifst were opened can also tip off criminals.

“We always talk about that, about when you have a large item not to set it outside with the trash -- to cut it up and put it inside the recycle box or a black plastic garbage bag," Smith said. "That way it can’t be seen, or people can’t identify it.”

Through an extensive investigation, including an interview of Hurlburt, detectives were able to associate him with the six burglary cases, deputies said.

During the investigation, detectives were able to recover $33,155 worth of stolen property.

Hurlburt remains in the Putnam County Jail on $26,000 bond.