A burglary suspect claimed to be a police officer when he was caught breaking into a Riverview home this week, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
Early Wednesday, Joseph Nicholas Kovacevic, 21, of Riverview burglarized several vehicles and residences in the South Pointe subdivision, deputies said. He used a knife to cut the screen of one residence, entering and removing car keys and a flashlight. He tried to enter other residences the same way but did not take anything, deputies said.
Several vehicles were burglarized, but in most cases nothing was taken. Cigarettes were taken from one vehicle and $3.00 from another.
One of the vehicles that was broken into belonged to a Tampa police officer. No weapons were stolen, only equipment, deputies said.
Kovacevic was burglarizing a residence when he was discovered by a neighbor, deputies said. When confronted by the neighbor, the suspect was wearing a ballistic vest with “Police” written on it and had handcuffs hanging from his belt.
Asked to identify himself, Kovacevic said, “I am the police,” and fled the scene, deputies said. The neighbor called 911 and was able to tell deputies which way the suspect had fled.
Deputies found Kovacevic in a vehicle near Early Run Lane and Walker Vista Drive. A search of the vehicle turned up the stolen car keys, flashlight, cigarettes and police equipment, deputies said.
Kovacevic faces four counts of armed burglary of a dwelling; two counts of petit theft; six counts of falsely impersonating an officer; four counts of criminal mischief; five counts of armed burglary of a conveyance and one count each of grand theft of law enforcement equipment, violation of probation. He was also sought on an out of county warrant for violation of probation for grand theft.