Almost a month after the murder of Don "Terry" Plumeri two suspects are in custody.
According to Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy, the suspects, Darren Decker, 41, and Jessica Baker, 44, are being held on burglary charges in Sumter County for the burglary trend which swept through several central Florida counties and the murder of Plumeri which occurred on March 31.
In January, Citrus and surrounding counties began experiencing a string of burglaries that appeared to be related. The burglaries occurred during the day, primarily in rural areas, when it was believed the victims were not home. In most cases, doors were pried open. Cash, guns, jewelry and sometimes drugs, were taken. Almost all of the victims reported that a pillowcase was missing from the residence after the burglary occurred.
In Citrus, 13 burglaries have been reported since the beginning of the year. The last burglary in Citrus that showed similarities occurred at Plumeri's residence off W. Candier Ct. in Dunnellon.
Deputies were called there on April 1 to do a well being check and found Plumeri deceased, bound, with blunt force trauma and multiple stab wounds to his upper body. His exact cause of death is still to be determined by the medical examiner's office.
"Mr. Plumeri suffered at the hands of Darren Decker," Capt. Brad Smith said. "We know that Mr. Plumeri was inside his home when the suspect(s) broke in. We believe that Decker brutally murdered a very talented man who certainly didn't deserve to die this way. Our continued prayers are with his family and friends."
As a result of these cases, the Sheriff deployed special teams in targeted neighborhoods to deter these types of burglaries from occurring in Citrus County; special patrols, undercover personnel and forensics teams were
utilized. At the same time, all of the involved agencies worked together to gather intelligence and identify the suspects.
Although many persons of interest were identified, a major break in the case came as a result of one suspect selling stolen property from a prior burglary.
This information helped lead detectives to Decker and Baker, who were arrested in Marion County on Monday, April 18, for a burglary that had occurred that day in Sumter County.
Investigators are currently combing through tons of evidence to match up stolen items to specific burglaries in Citrus and surrounding counties and to bring homicide charges against the couple.
"We have a long way to go with processing the enormous amount of evidence we have in this case and all of the other burglaries," Sheriff Dawsy said. "As a result of these two arrests, our residents can feel safer in their homes and breathe a sigh of relief. This was a real "who-done-it" with very few leads and I can tell you that everyone who worked on this case worked non-stop to catch these people. All of the men and woman involved in this investigation went above and beyond to bring closure to this case. They committed a heinous crime....We got them and they are no longer a threat to our community. It's also important to remind our citizens that this couple was not responsible for every burglary in our area since January - but I am confident we have two individuals in custody who killed an innocent man."
Recent examples of other daytime burglaries in Citrus County include James Jones, 47 of Crystal River who was arrested for breaking into multiple homes/mobile homes in Citrus and Levy counties since February of 2016 to feed a meth addiction.
Decker, Baker and Jones were not working together, according to officials.
Officials state Decker and Baker are being held with a no bond charge.