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Can of 7Up helps catch Englewood burglar

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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 10:03 pm | Updated: 6:43 pm, Wed Aug 21, 2013.

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. -  A crook who managed to burglarize an Englewood home and drink a can of 7up at the same time made one crucial mistake: he left the soda can behind with his fingerprints all over it.

27-year-old James Hunter Santo has been charged with Occupied Burglary, Dealing in Stolen Property and Providing False Information to a Pawn Broker. Detectives say sometime last Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, he broke into a 91-year-old woman's home in Englewood.

The owner of the home, Mildred Fellin was fast asleep in her bedroom and says she did not hear a single thing.  "I woke up Wednesday morning around 7, and I didn't know anything had happened. Then, I noticed my jewelry box was missing from my dresser," said Fellin.

In her jewelry box were several necklaces and the wedding ring belonging to her late husband. Santo also got away with her purse and a television.

"The suspect does not have a long criminal history here, but he certainly has a drug problem. Something that would push him to commit an occupied burglary is a sign of desperation," said Wendy Rose with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

According to detectives, Santo also stole a can of 7up from the garage at Fellin's home. When he exited her home, he left the can behind. Fellin pointed out the soda to detectives, and the fingerprints were processed. A match was made with Santo. Authorities then discovered he had attempted to sell some of the jewelry at a local pawn shop. He was arrested a short time later.

Fellin has received some of her recovered jewelry, including her husband's ring. She says she is grateful for the hard work by law enforcement.

"I can sleep easy tonight," said Fellin.

Santo remains behind bars with a bond set at over $154,000. He is also accused of stealing checks from an 82-year-old man earlier this year.

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