COPS surveillance nabs auto burglars

Steven Messer
Historic City News was advised yesterday evening of the arrest of a St. George Street man, his 16 year old stepson and a 19 year old man. The three were nabbed in an ongoing surveillance of public parking areas that have been the recent targets of auto burglaries along A1A.

The two men and the 16-year old juvenile were arrested on two counts each of burglary to a conveyance and criminal mischief as well as one count of dealing in stolen property on Friday afternoon, according to a report from SJSO Media Relations Officer Kevin Kelshaw.

The three suspects were identified as Steven Messer, 42 , Travis James McFarlane, 19, and Eric Brandon Bayne, 16, all using the address of 312 St. George St.

Travis McFarlane

Messer was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office Community Oriented Policing Unit (COPs) were observing the north parking lot of the Guana State Park due to an increase of car burglaries in that area over the past two weeks. Friday afternoon, shortly after 1:00 p.m., that surveillance paid off as the trio entered the staked out area.

The investigation revealed that 16 year old Bayne posed as a lookout on A1A while Messer, his step-father, drove through the parking lot with McFarlane looking into vehicles — and allegedly entering them.

Today two vehicles were entered in the north parking lot. Last week 12 vehicles were reported to have been broken into in the three parking areas of the state park.

The three suspects are facing additional charges as Property Crimes Unit Detectives continue the investigation.