Three arrests were made by Winter Park Police last Tuesday following the burglary of a home along Osceola Avenue.
Winter Park Police arrested suspects Zofia Byrgiel, Monika Kociolek and Tomasz Feder after receiving a call from a Winter Park resident earlier that day of suspicious activity outside her neighbor’s house.
The resident had been jogging outside when she saw an unfamiliar black van parked outside the home. She observed two women in black jackets quickly exiting the house and leaving in the van, driven by a male suspect.
She informed Winter Park Police, who tracked down the suspects nearby shortly after.
The resident identified them as the suspects she had seen earlier.
“That’s something we’ve been pushing out to residents constantly: the slogan ‘if you see something, say something,’” said Sgt. John Bologna of the Winter Park Police Department. “That’s what we’ve been pushing out to the residents.”
“If it wasn’t for her calling, it would have been such a time delay when the property owner got back that the people would have been long gone.”
“That’s absolutely the key to having a safe community: the involvement of the community,” Winter Park Police Chief Brett Railey said.
Winter Park suffered an increased string of burglaries last year from February to May, with many witnesses reportedly seeing individuals wearing posh attire to blend in with wealthy neighborhoods. The four-month span saw an average of 8.75 burglaries a month, and added up to 35 reported burglaries
“There was a group of people coming through, but they seemed to have died down,” Bologna said. “It’s always out there though. When people have an opportunity, they’re going to try and capitalize on that opportunity and burglarize a house.”
The past three months have seen the burglary rate spike once again, with a total of 27 residential burglaries hitting Winter Park since Oct. 1 at an average rate of nine burglaries a month, according to the online crime map on the Winter Park Police website.
Winter Park has had 93 burglaries so far this year as of Tuesday, still short of last year’s total of 120.
Bologna said police are unsure whether the suspects last Tuesday had been tracking the neighborhood or jumped at a random opportunity.
The three suspects have been charged with burglary, larceny, damaged property and possession of a forged or stolen driver license.