[PHOTO CREDIT: iStock / Urupong]
(Have news tips for LLN?… 352Tips@gmail.com.)
[Original Publish Date: 10/01/19]
EUSTIS, Florida – Both a doorbell camera and social media played a key role in solving a three-week-old theft case, leading to the arrest of Michael Andrew Stevenson, 39, on dealing in stolen property charges. The homeless ‘porch-pirate’ is now facing a maximum of 15 years for pawning items he stole from a Eustis home – left at the victim’s front door as part of an Amazon delivery. (The victim was home at the time of the theft.)
According to yesterday’s arrest report, Stevenson began as merely “an unidentified white male” when he walked up to the front door of the home located at 700 East Washington Avenue back on Sept. 10. At that time, the occupant’s Ring camera system captured images of “a white male, medium build, wearing a red polo style shirt, dark gray cargo style shorts, black sandals, sunglasses and a silver colored hat. The boxes [from an Amazon delivery] contained several miscellaneous computer related equipment such as USB flash drives, computer hard drives and a battery tender.” Contents were valued at $1,716.55.
Police received an anonymous tip regarding Stevenson after video camera footage had been “dispersed to several social media outlets” – with the tip advising that “Michael Stevenson had stolen the packages and pawned several items at the Mount Dora GameStop, 17258 US HWY 441.” The arrest report relates that “I was also made aware that Stevenson had just been arrested on a warrant and was incarcerated at the Lake County Jail… I pulled up Stevenson’s booking photo from the recent arrest and compared it to the Ring camera footage captured by the complainant’s camera system. I was able to positively identified (sic) Stevenson in the camera footage.”
Follow-up investigation uncovered GameStop pawn tickets and surveillance footage implicating Stevenson; and police contact with Stevenson’s reported girlfriend, Amy Nave, revealed through her admission that she was with Stevenson at the time he pawned the stolen items. (Nave denied to police having knowledge of the initial theft.)
When confronted at the jail with the allegations against him, Stevenson initially denied any involvement in the incident, before then allegedly confessing to police that he not only pawned items he had stolen from the victim’s porch at the Mount Dora GameStop, but had traveled and pawned additional items at the Leesburg GameStop as well.
James Hope is a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer who has been practicing criminal law in Tavares, Florida, since 1987. He has also been the Publisher and Executive Editor of Lake Legal News since 2009. He may be contacted at LakeLegalNews@gmail.com, or through his website at www.AttorneyJamesHope.com. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]