Facebook post pressures theft suspect to confess crime to victim

Posted at 11:11 PM, Jan 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 23:11:31-05

PLANT CITY, Fla. — A Plant City theft suspect is in jail after calling to confess his crime to the homeowner he stole from. 

Home surveillance video taken Tuesday afternoon shows a man ringing the doorbell at Wayne Rogers home twice, checking to make sure no one is there. 

Video shows the thief circling the property before hauling off a high-end generator to his truck. Rogers tells ABC Action News, the generator was purchased to keep his family safe during Hurricane Irma. 

Family friend Lisa Sission grew frustrated after watching the 5-minute surveillance video. 

"I think people are tired of working hard for things and somebody coming on your property and stealing it," said Sission. 

Sission decided to help by posting pictures from the surveillance on Facebook, including a neighborhood crime alert page. 

Sission says several people commented claiming to have seen the same man roaming through their properties. 

"Within 12 hours it was solved, all because of Facebook," said Sission. 

A few people online recognized the suspect as Clenton Cowart, of Plant City. 

Sure enough, the pressure of being identified got the Cowart. Rogers says Cowart called him the very next day to apologize and offered to bring the generator back if no charges were filed. 

"He was crying, pleading, and begging," said Rogers. "He's sorry that he got caught, he wasn't sorry for what he did."

The next phone call Rogers made was to a Hillsborough County detective. 

"Wayne gets his generator back and he gets a trip to jail, so maybe he won't do this again," said Sission. 

Cowart was arrested Thursday night and charged with Grand Theft.