HCSO gear stolen during car burglary spree

Posted at 10:24 AM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 17:37:26-04

Pinellas County deputies say a car burglar who made off with $5,000 in HCSO gear accidentally left his cell phone in one of three cars he broke into the morning of May 10 then filing a false police report alleging his phone had been stolen.

Jacob Leonard, 21, is now charged with three counts of grand theft, three counts of burglary, one count of false report of a crime, one count of dealing in stolen property and one count of false verification of ownership.

According to an arrest affidavit, Leonard's burglary spree began around 4 a.m. in the 29000 block of 69th Way North in Clearwater.

Deputies say Leonard broke into a GMC truck and stole a black gym bag containing a black weight belt, black weight lifting gloves and a pair of red Beats Power beats ear bud style headphones.

During the burglary, deputies say Leonard accidentally left his cell phone in the victim's truck.

An arrest affidavit states Leonard also burglarized another car on the same block, this time stealing an Apple iPod touch.

"He's not that smart," said Kathleen Heel, who explained her iPod is seven years old and her husband's new iPod was right next to hers but not taken.

Then at around 5:15 a.m., deputies say Leonard broke into a car in the 29700 block of Seacol Street.

The car belongs to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputy recruit.

Leonard took $5,000 worth of HCSO gear, including a gun belt containing an HCSO radio, training taser, handcuffs and other miscellaneous items, an arrest affidavit states.

Surveillance camera on a neighbor's house captured Leonard carrying the gun belt, deputies say.

A second camera picked up Leonard walking along the side of the residence carrying the belt, deputies added.

Deputies say the footage shows Leonard handling the HCSO gear and also discarding a personal grooming bag into nearby bushes.

All of the gear was recovered and returned the morning of the incident, deputies say.

Deputies say around 2:00 p.m. Leonard called the sheriff's office to report his cellular phone had been stolen out of his own car.  Leonard was not aware his cell phone had been found in one of his victim's car and had been taken into evidence, an arrest report states.

On May 12, deputies say Leonard pawned the ear buds he stole for $20.  They are valued at $149.  The pawn shop is located right next to Leonard's house on Highland Acres Drive.

Deputies say when they questioned Leonard he admitted to having the other victim's stolen iPod at his house.