Police nab man inside Fleming Street home



Key West Police say there is no indication that the man arrested inside a five-bedroom house on Fleming Street Thursday morning is the same person who has been breaking into homes around the cemetery.

Detectives, however, are trying to determine whether the alleged Fleming Street burglar has pawned items stolen from homes around the cemetery, Crean said.

“They’re checking into that,” she said.

Police arrested Anthony Robert Yoder, 29, after they found him trying to hide in a bathroom at 703 Fleming St., Crean said. The large, 19th century classical revival home is near the corner of Fleming and Elizabeth streets.

According to Crean, police ran a check of pawn shop databases and determined that Yoder had already sold items from the house before his arrest Thursday.

That may raise the possibility that he had been in the Fleming Street house before or had come in possession of the stolen property another way.

“When detectives ran a check of pawn shop databases, they discovered the suspect had sold an Ipod docking station, two bottles of rum and 14 paintings to a local pawn shop,” Crean wrote. “The owner of the property identified the items, which have an estimated value of $10,000.”

The house is owned by the Donald R. Wilson Jr. Trust of Chicago, Monroe County Appraiser Office records show.

A caretaker discovered Yoder hiding under a bed on the second floor of the house, Crean reported. The caretaker called police, who searched the home and caught Yoder trying to hide under a bathroom vanity, Crean said.

Yoder was charged with burglary, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, the violation of the Pawn Act and for failing to register with local authorities as a convicted felon, Crean said.

Detectives are checking pawn records and other information to see if Yoder is responsible for the series of unsolved break-ins around the cemetery. Meanwhile, Crean urged the public not to assume that one person is responsible for all the burglaries in that stricken neighborhood.

“Although some people believe that one person does all the crimes, there’s no evidence one way or the other, so each case has priority,” she said.

Yoder has been arrested in the Lower Keys before, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office records. Last September, Yoder — whose address is listed as 8848 Township Rd., Shreeve, Ohio — was charged with misdemeanor theft; in November, he was arrested on 5th Street on Stock Island for felony possession of a controlled substance. He also received a misdemeanor charge in that arrest for allegedly using a controlled substance without a prescription.

Residents on William, Olivia, and Petronia streets, Galveston Lane and other nearby streets have been targets of a burglar who has entered some homes more than once; the thief doesn’t seem to care whether residents are home or not. The perpetrator hits in the middle of the night and checks for unlocked doors and windows. If they’re locked, the perpetrator sometimes uses a tool to pick at locks or jimmy open doors and windows, residents say.

He (or she, some assume) started more than a year ago by stealing cash from wallets and purses in homes but later returned to the same homes to steal IPhones, IPads, laptops and other electronics, residents told police.

The seemingly unbroken string of burglaries led residents to agitate for a community meeting with Key West Police Chief Donie Lee and city commissioners last January. Since then, Lee has instituted late-night patrols, undercover stakeouts in the neighborhood, and late-night checkpoints to stop and question people entering the burglarized neighborhoods.

Some put the number of burglaries around the cemetery at more than 40 break-ins.


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