JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There's a neighborhood crime alert on the Northside, where a 22-year Army veteran and his wife, who came back to Jacksonville for retirement, are feeling uneasy after their belongings were stolen.
Dewayne Sparks Sr. told News4Jax on Wednesday what the thieves stole.
"I had a yard edger, one of the gas operated ones, that was sitting here and two leaf blowers that were here that I use for landscaping," Sparks said. "(When) I noticed it wasn't there, I thought maybe I put it in the shed. We wandered around, looked around the yard, didn't notice anything. Then I said, 'Let me check the camera.'"
That's when Sparks realized his property had been burglarized. His home security system caught a woman wearing a white- or light-colored shirt and jeans or dark pants stealing lawn equipment -- worth about $300 -- from outside his home.
The video shows the woman loading up the tools into a gray four-door Nissan, which has dents to the passenger side back door and bumper and two spare tires on the back, as the passenger climbs to the driver's side. In the video, the woman is seen getting into the car, which then speeds off.
Sparks said he was on edge for years when serving overseas, and, sadly, still feels on edge living in his own home.
"It angered me. I just relocated back to Jacksonville after finishing my time in the military and it made me feel unsafe just coming back into the city," Sparks said.
Since moving to his Northside home, Sparks said, this is the second time trespassers came on his property. After the first incident, he installed a fence for protection. But the day when the last incident occurred, Sparks said, he left the gate open because he was in a hurry.
After being hit twice in on year, News4Jax asked Sparks what he would do if it happens again.
"This is my retirement home. Finding a secluded spot like this on the water here in Jacksonville was therapeutic for me. I'm not going to let them scare me away. This is mine," he said. "I'm going to defend it whatever way I can to make sure my family's safe."
Sparks filed a police report and gave detectives access to the video. In the meantime, he's hoping someone will recognize the woman or the car.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.