POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Just after 3 a.m. on Saturday, June 3, a couple of masked intruders kicked in the door of a home in the Copper Ridge subdivision of North Lakeland, Florida, and went inside.
“As you can see, they are well garbed up, they had masks on, they had gloves,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, reviewing surveillance video from the break-in.
Judd said the intruders entered the home but left without taking anything after realizing there were kids inside.
“When the burglars that did the home invasion heard the kids screaming and crying and noticed it was kids there, he told the others, ‘Let’s go, it’s kids,’ and they left without taking anything,” said Judd, who is now asking for the public’s help to identify the intruders.
At the time of the break-in, there were three 11-year-old children inside the home, Judd said. Their parents were not present — and it took nearly 45 minutes for someone to call 911 — but the sheriff said his investigators have no reason to suspect the parents were doing anything wrong.
“We just know that normally, there is a targeted house that these folks kick the doors in on, but of course, we didn’t see any evidence of any criminal conduct there,” Judd said.
Shane Moore just moved into the neighborhood. He said it’s a nice place to live.
“Everybody is friendly here, man. We get along, we party on the weekends, we’re out in the street, we play corn hole,” said Moore, who is shocked the home invasion happened near his house. “Especially being new to the neighborhood … it’s not what you want to come in to and hope it doesn’t happen again.”
Tom Kosturik, another resident of the neighborhood, said the thieves were taking a big chance.
“There’s probably very few homes that don’t have cameras, and between you and me, many people own guns. Somebody’s got to be out of their mind to break into a home in a neighborhood like this,” said Kosturik.
In this case, Sheriff Judd said the homeowners would have been well within their rights to defend themselves.
“Well, it’s dangerous for the ones who kicked the doors in,” said Judd. “I can tell you, if you kick my door in, in the middle of the night, I will kill you graveyard dead, and the owners of the house would certainly have every right do to that.”