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Detectives Arrest Pair For Multiple Residential Burglaries In North County; Discover Suspect’s Detailed Plans To Commit An Armed Bank Robbery On Halloween

Release Number: 11-247

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
Burglary and Pawn Unit
Patrol Operations Bureau

Matthew Thomas (Arrested)
DOB: 09/14/1984
Address: 1021 15th Street, Palm Harbor
Arrested for one-count burglary occupied; four-counts burglary unoccupied; and one-count conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Thomas Fields (Arrested)
DOB: 10/30/1987
Address: 1021 15th Street, Palm Harbor
Arrested for five-counts burglary unoccupied and one-count conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

What: Detectives assigned to the Burglary and Pawn Unit have arrested two Palm Harbor men for several residential burglaries in north Pinellas County. Through their investigation, investigators discovered that the two had detailed plans to commit an armed robbery at the Patriot Bank in Palm Harbor on Halloween. Specific plans included that the suspects would wear masks from the movie “Scream” during the commission of the crime.

Where: The burglaries occurred in downtown Palm Harbor.

When: The suspects were arrested on October 17, 2011.

The residential burglaries occurred from about mid-September to mid-October 2011.

How/Why:
Detectives assigned to the Burglary and Pawn Unit have arrested two Palm Harbor men for several residential burglaries in north Pinellas County; and for conspiracy to commit an armed bank robbery on Halloween. The burglaries occurred from about mid-September to mid-October 2011, primarily in the downtown Palm Harbor area.

According to detectives, the suspects forced entry into as many as ten different residences, usually during daylight hours, and targeted items such as jewelry, electronics, tools and cash. The suspects later sold some of the stolen property at area pawn shops.

Detectives were able to identify and connect the suspects to the burglaries through their activity at the pawn shops. The pair was subsequently arrested during the late afternoon hours of Monday, October 17, 2011.

Following their arrest, detectives obtained consent to search the home where the two lived and in a common area of the residence- located a portfolio containing handwritten notes with precise details about how the two planned to commit an armed bank robbery at the Patriot Bank located at 1103 Florida Avenue in Palm Harbor on Halloween.

Investigators say the notes specified that the suspects planned to wear masks from the movie “Scream” and two layers of clothing, one which would be shed as they fled the scene. The pair intended to use two rental cars, one for their arrival and the second would be nearby for the getaway. Among the notes, deputies also discovered drawings and maps of the inside and outside of the bank, indicating the suspects had been inside and become familiar with the facility. According to deputies the suspects were also keeping tabs on bank employees’ cars and taking down tag information to help them know who would be inside at the time of the planned robbery.

During the interview, both suspects admitted to the armed bank robbery plans.

27-year-old Matthew Thomas was arrested for one-count burglary occupied; four-counts burglary unoccupied; and one-count conspiracy to commit armed robbery. 24-year-old Thomas Fields was arrested for five-counts burglary unoccupied and one-count conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

The investigation continues.

Additional charges are pending.
To view the suspect’s booking record and photograph click the following link or copy and paste the link into a browser address bar:

http://www.pcsoweb.com/InmateBooking/SubjectResults.aspx?id=1475249

To view the suspect’s booking record and photograph click the following link or copy and paste the link into a browser address bar:

http://www.pcsoweb.com/InmateBooking/SubjectResults.aspx?id=1475248

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