SARASOTA - Police are reporting a rash of overnight home break-ins in the Alta Vista neighborhood, including one Monday morning where thieves ransacked a teenage girl's bedroom room -- while she slept feet away.
19-year old Kelsey Bendle can't believe what happened, and she realizes it could have ended a lot worse. “I'm really scared. I just feel like I need a bodyguard with me at all times.”
Kelsey is scared after waking up to find two burglars in her room in her house on South Shade Avenue in Sarasota. “When I woke up, he had pillows in his hand and was going through stuff in my bed, so it was weird. They were very, very close to me,” she says. “And I screamed and said a couple of mean words, and I was just like ‘who are you?’ And they ran out.”
Two burglars ran out the same side door they came in, and police say took off in a car they had just stolen on nearby Bay Street, where they broke in a window and stole the keys. Police say the car was later found abandoned along N. Euclid Avenue.
Police say this is the 3rd and 4th break-ins over the past ten days around Bay and Shade.
“At this time, we're actively addressing and searching through evidence to see if we can find some type of a lead,” says Linda DeNiro with the Sarasota Police Department.
While police investigate the break-ins, Kelsey is dreading going home. “I don't want to go home and sleep in my own bed tonight, because I'm really scared.”
So scared, that for now the whole thing seems like a really bad nightmare. “I was very shaken up. I couldn't even talk straight…I couldn't even process it, it was like a dream.”
And besides being shaken up, she's also angry, and hopes she can help police find the intruders.
Kelsey says that her mother was also home at the time, and that there were 3 cars in the driveway – an odd choice of houses to rob.
She hopes by talking to ABC 7, it'll help police find the burglars and also alert others to the break-ins.
Thieves have stolen laptops, jewelry, and cash in the break-ins. Police remind you to keep doors and windows locked at night.
The only description available so far is of two teenaged black males with shaved heads.
If anyone sees anything suspicious or unusual please call the police department to report it by calling the non-emergency number at (941) 316-1201. In case of an emergency dial 911. Anyone with information about these burglary cases are urged to contact Det. K. Laster at the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at (941) 364-7327, or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling (941) 366-TIPS.