JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police on Thursday released surveillance images and video of a man wanted in an Arlington burglary case in the hopes that the public can help identify him.
The man crept into a woman's home while she slept in June, threatened and hit her and then made off with some of her belongings, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
As News4Jax previously reported, the 93-year-old's family said the man has returned to the University Park home near University Boulevard and Fort Caroline Road at least twice since then, first on Aug. 19 and then again on Sept. 15.
"He went into my mother's bedroom and shined a light in her eye and so she couldn't see who he was," Terry Kelly, the woman's son, told News4Jax, describing the intial incident. "She woke up and she screamed and he slapped her and told her to be quiet and to stay here and, 'If you get up and move around, I'll come back to hurt you.'"
In the most recent incidents, the woman's son said, the man did not break in. But the initial burglary, coupled with the man's habit of returning to the home, has the family alarmed.
"To target older people like that, I'd like to see the guy caught and off the streets," Kelly said.
He said the family has taken steps to shore up her home security in the wake of the terrifying ordeal.
"We replaced everything with metal doors, put new windows in, put an alarm system in, put security cameras up. So we've done all that," the son said.
He added that he's also replaced cameras that were stolen and replaced a security light in the back that was disabled. News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said the woman did the right thing by adding surveillance to her home.
The neighborhood association's president said residents are weary and that it appears the same man broke into at least two other homes.
"We are trying to educate them each month about what they can do to protect themselves," said Joseph Maceo George, president of the University Park Civic Association.
George said the man has been spotted, but still has not been arrested.
"They're looking out," he said. "We are on high alert."
Jefferson, who was a police officer for more than two decades, said everyone can come together to protect their community, but they'll have to look out for each other and be diligent.
"Look for something or someone that looks like they're creeping around, casing homes, just out of place," Jefferson said. "Obviously, he's going to continue to do this until he is caught. He figures, right now, that he has gotten away with it several times, that he can continue to do it. He's going to trip. He's going to stumble and he is going to get caught."
When asked how his mother, whom News4Jax has chosen not to identify for her safety, was doing, Kelly said, "She is a strong woman. She just said, 'I'm not going to let anybody scare me.'"
He said he has received a lot of support after the story was reported on the news. There are flyers and a lawn service company reached out so workers can keep their eyes peeled.
Anyone who recognizes the man pictured in the image and video is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $3,000, call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
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