SEBRING - A 46-year-old Sebring man was booked into Highlands County Jail at 2:13 a.m. Saturday after being accused of as many as 18 automobile burglaries. All were unlocked cars.
Lt. Sean Casey said Tad Martin Bennett was found in the Jackson Heights neighborhood with property similar to what was later reported stolen. He was charged with loitering or prowling, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, first offense petit larceny and resisting an officer without violence.
Sgt. Scott Williams said at noon Saturday that most of the victims were in the north Sebring area, but he and Casey suggested more reports may come in. Another car burglary was reported in Avon Park Lakes, but Williams did not know if that one was related.
Four or five burglaries were reported on Friday night, and another 13 on Saturday morning.
"A lot of people don't get up and go to work on Saturday morning, so we may get more," Williams guessed. "All of them could have been avoided if people just locked their cars. This wasn't one of those guys out there smashing windows. These were crimes of opportunity. If you leave your doors unlocked, you're almost asking for it."
After Bennett was arrested, Williams said investigators drove the neighborhood and found that a burglar was opening the unlocked doors, taking what was available, then shutting the doors but not latching them, probably to avoid any noise."
To report a crime, call 402-7200.