Man Arrested for Burglary to Occupied Police Vehicle in Gulfport
Gulfport Police arrested 20 year-old Kelvin Neal of St. Petersburg after he attempted to burglarize an occupied police vehicle.
Neal was arrested and charged with burglary to an occupied vehicle after he tried to gain access to an unmarked police vehicle on Thursday, December 14, 2017.
Detectives were working a surveillance detail for an unrelated matter in the Town Shores retirement community near 30th Avenue South and 59th Street. Sergeant Thomas Woodman was sitting inside the Dodge Charger with the engine turned off and tinted windows rolled up.
He saw Neal ride by on a bicycle, drop the bicycle in nearby bushes, and then walk up to the police car. Neal peered through the windows, but apparently he did not see the detective sitting inside.
He then he grabbed and pulled up on the door handle in an effort to get into the car.
When he was unsuccessful, Neal went looking for other cars in the community.
Detectives followed at a distance, and they witnessed him trying to get into at least one other vehicle before they stopped him.
Neal later stated that he went to that community to look for unlocked cars to burglarize. He said that he often finds unlocked doors, and he takes whatever he can, including even loose change.
Neal said that as he was trying to open the door on the Charger, he noticed the antenna on the roof, and he suspected it might be a police car, but he had no idea there was a detective inside.
In addition to the vehicle burglaries, Neal was also charged with possession of marijuana.
He is currently being held in the Pinellas County Jail with bond set at $15,150. Burglary to unlocked vehicles is one of the most common crimes in Gulfport and other parts of Pinellas County.
Local law enforcement agencies have mounted intense public awareness campaigns in an effort to get residents and visitors into the habit of locking their cars.