Owner helps lead police to suspect in martial arts school break-in

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of a martial arts school in the Oceanway neighborhood on Jacksonville's Northside tracked down an alleged thief who broke into the school overnight.

The break-in was the second in a month at the All-Star Martial Arts School. In both instances, the same window was smashed. 

Three iPads were stolen from the school, but some good investigative work helped the owner lead police to the suspect, whom News4Jax has chosen not to identify because he is a minor.

“This window is going to cost around $1,000," Ernie McKinney, the Oceanway school's owner, said. "That’s $1,000 I wasn’t expecting to pay out this month.”

Security cameras outside the building show the suspect, wearing a hoodie, using a brick to smash the window and break into the martial arts school.

The infrared camera inside the school captured him crawling through the broken glass, taking an iPad off the counter and bending down to pick up two more iPads and a pocket knife. 

An outside camera catches him walking away from the school, wearing an all-black outfit.

A month ago, the security camera outside the building showed a person wearing a similar all-black outfit walking toward the school before breaking in.

It’s unclear whether the two break-ins were committed by the same person.

“Last month, they caused $1,000 worth of damage and took, literally, $10," McKinney said.

McKinney said, this time, he had to be proactive, so he began looking into his iCloud account, and he was able to track down the iPads to a location one block away from his martial arts school. He got in his car and followed the map.

“When I logged back into iCloud, it actually showed it at the house, so I just parked across the street, waited for them to show up and gave them the information, and they took it from there,” McKinney said.

He said that, when police went into the house, they recovered the stolen iPads and took a juvenile male into custody.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer, so being able to help out and do the investigation work was amazing. So that was good stuff,” McKinney said.

He said, with the suspect behind bars, he’s hoping this will be the last time he will have to repair a broken window at his martial arts school.

About the Author: