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Monday, Dec 22, 2014
Crime & Courts

Alert neighbor helps Winter Haven police catch suspects

TBO.com staff
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A helpful neighbor helped police arrest two people suspected in home burglaries, Winter Haven police said.

According to police, this is what happened Friday afternoon:

About 4 p.m., a neighbor saw a red Chevy Cobalt backed into the driveway of a home in the 200 block of College Grove with a woman in the driver’s seat and a man entering the vehicle carrying a backpack.

The curious neighbor followed the vehicle and got its tag number. The Chevy then stopped in the parking lot of Polk State College because of a flat tire. The neighbor approached the Chevy and asked the occupants if he could help. The Chevy’s passenger, Jason Mark Sawyer, 33, of Winter Haven, asked for a jack. The neighbor got a jack and told Sawyer he would come back later for it.

About 4:30 p.m., the neighbor returned to the College Grove home, where the resident had returned to find a window frame pried open and three firearms and jewelry missing from inside.

After calling police, the neighbor returned to the college parking lot. The Chevy was gone, but the neighbor found his jack, along with a package with a mailing label.

The neighbor returned to the home and provided police with the tag number, suspect descriptions and information about the flat tire incident and the package, which turned out to be from another burglary that occurred earlier in the day on Avenue A Northwest.

The tag number provided by the neighbor led police to Cherish Nicole Swinson, 27, of Winter Haven.

Swinson and Sawyer were charged in the two burglaries and booked into the Polk County Jail.

Swinson, who was previously convicted on drug charges, faces charges of armed burglary, grand theft firearm, possession firearm by convicted felon, burglary and petit theft.

Sawyer, who is on pre-trial release for a trespassing arrest in April, faces charges of armed burglary, grand theft firearm, burglary and petit theft.

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