Local News

RV park burglaries linked to former resident, authorities said

— It’s likely that many Woody’s RV Resort residents don’t remember Aaron Areford as a good neighbor.

Areford is accused of burglarizing more than a dozen homes there, apparently while he was living in the RV resort last summer. Authorities also suspect he burglarized residences at Buttonwood Bay Mobile Home Park.

Areford, 23, 656 River Drive, Sebring, was arrested last weekend by the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office and charged with 13 counts of grand theft, 14 counts of dealing in stolen property, 11 counts of burglary of a dwelling, 14 counts of false verification of ownership to a pawnbroker, one count of burglary of a conveyance and one count of criminal mischief.

An arrest warrant said that on Aug. 25, 2013, it was determined that multiple burglaries had occurred at Woody’s RV Resort.

At the that time, the warrant said, Areford was living with his brother, and on occasion another man stayed at the residence.

“Multiple television sets were stolen, among other things, and many of them were located at local pawn shops,” the warrant said. “They were pawned by Aaron Areford, who provided his name, Pennsylvania ID card, and signature identifying the stolen items as his own.”

In one case, according to the warrant, a 32-inch television with a built-in DVD player, valued at nearly $500, was stolen and then pawned at Sebring Pawn & Check Cashing. Records showed that Areford pawned the television, the affidavit said.

Several months after the burglaries were discovered, Areford’s younger brother showed law enforcement where the burglaries occurred. One of those was where the television with the DVD was stolen, the warrant said.

Arrest reports also indicate that Areford is suspected of committing burglaries in Buttonwood Bay.

In one of those cases, the younger brother told detectives that he, Areford and another man burglarized a residence, a warrant affidavit said.

They stashed some stolen items in plastic trash bags in the woods, the brother told investigators, the affidavit said.

Detectives recovered the bags and found some items, including $31 in cash, four glasses and four whiskey bottles, the affidavit said.

Nell Hays, crime prevention officer for the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, said more burglaries are generally reported during the summer when people are up north.

They can reduce the chances of a burglary by having light timers, asking others to put garbage bags on the property to be picked up and to occasionally park a car in the driveway.


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