Local News

Teen's cell phone pic helps nab suspected burglar

Posted May 24, 2010 4:31 p.m. EDT
Updated May 24, 2010 7:08 p.m. EDT

— Lee County authorities gave kudos Monday to a 14-year-old girl who they say foiled a burglary by using her cell phone camera.

The girl was home alone Thursday afternoon when a man broke into her house on Sheriff Watson Road, a quiet two-lane road with few houses, at about 5 p.m., Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter said.

"We don't think that he even knew she was in the house," Carter said.

The girl hid in a bathroom while the burglar grabbed four guns and left, the sheriff said.

"This happened at a time when a lot of folks are getting home from work, so that's probably the reason he didn't stay very long," he said.

The girl used her cell phone to snap a picture through the bathroom window of the burglar's blue Crown Victoria as he drove off. She then called her mother, who called 911.

"That phone photo gave law officers in the area something concrete to look for. Based on that picture and the girl's description of the suspect, Sanford police arrested the man that night," Carter said.

Police charged Bryan Everett Allen, 31, of Sanford, with breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods in the case. He was being held Monday in the Lee County jail under a $15,000 bond.

Investigators said Allen, who has previous convictions for breaking and entering and larceny, confessed to the crime and helped them recover the stolen guns.

Carter commended the teen for keeping her cool during the break-in.

"She was very upset, but she was able to hold it together, obviously, in how she handled it. She did a good job. I'm very proud of her," he said. "I hope this will deter a thief from doing something like this again."