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Juvenile arrested in bizarre Fernandina Beach home invasion

Owner recognized teen when mask fell off

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FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla – The Fernandina Beach Police Department arrested one juvenile and is searching for three others in connection with a home invasion robbery Saturday morning.

Police were called to a home on Manatee Avenue shortly after 12:30 a.m. and was told four to six armed people, wearing masks were robbing the occupants. Police say 15 people were in the home at the time of the robbery.

Police say the intruders were armed with rifles, handguns, and knives and were wearing masks. One of the robbers was wearing a red bandanna with eye holes cut into the cloth.

The victims were held at gunpoint while money, cellphones, and electronics were stolen from the house. Two of the victims were hit in the head with the butt end of a rifle.

Police say the homeowner and a second victim recognized one of the intruders when his mask came off during the robbery. The homeowner says that person had been a guest in his home on a few occasions and the men had played basketball together at a local gym.

That suspect then ran from the home, jumped a fence and ran through woods but the homeowner caught him and forced him back in the house. The other intruders pointed guns at the homeowner, demanding that he release their companion The homeowner refused.

The other intruders then ran from the area in different cars, but came back and made a second attempt to free their buddy, who was being held by the homeowner. The homeowner once again refused to let the alleged robber go, using him as a shield should there be any gunfire. The accomplices then left again.

Police recovered a rifle that was loaded with one bullet, a large knife, an orange mask and a red bandanna during a search of a nearby wooded area. Police say the suspect who was being held by the homeowner admitted to his role in the robbery and said he needed money to help ill family members. He claimed his other acquaintances were from Jacksonville.

Fernandina Beach Police are working with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to develop leads and recover stolen property.