An 18-year old Duval County man was arrested on one count each of burglary to a vehicle and grand theft this morning and is allegedly involved in at least 17 additional car burglaries that occurred earlier this week in the northwest part of the county.
The suspect, identified as Michael Jason Linder, 18, who lives on Crystal Creek Court in Jacksonville, is being held, without bond, according a press release from Kevin Kelshaw with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Linder is scheduled for a first appearance hearing Friday morning.
The investigation began Wednesday morning at 3:30 a.m. when a 39-year old St. Johns County man interrupted a burglary to his vehicle in the 1100 block of Eastwood Branch Dr. The victim was walking out to his driveway to lock his car and began to press the button on his key when he noticed the alarm did not sound.
He observed a male subject inside his vehicle and confronted him.
The subject took off running eastbound on Eastwood Branch Drive; leaving behind a briefcase containing a laptop computer in the driveway.
Deputies searched the area and discovered a suspicious vehicle parked on the street nearby. Inside the vehicle deputies located a flashlight and gloves in plain view and then contacted the owner of the vehicle who responded and consented to a full search.
Additional items, believed to have been taken in other car burglaries, were located inside the vehicle and Linder was identified as a suspect.
Linder returned to his home later in the day and was advised by a parent to contact the Sheriffâ€™s Office and then met with Property Crimes Unit Detectives today.
Linder admitted to 17 additional car burglaries and took detectives to the locations of each incident. The other locations were identified as two in the 700 block of Lochwood La., and one each in the 500 block of Tansy Ct., 700 block of Chesswood Ct., 700 block of Violet Pl., 700 block of Sharon Ct., 1000 block of Flora Parke Blvd., 1900 block of Barham Ct., 400 block of Huckleberry Tr., 1100 block of Eastwood Branch Dr., 1100 block of Linwood Loop and the 200 block of Betony Branch Way.
Additional charges are pending and additional suspects are being sought as the investigation continues.