“I am an alcoholic and needed something to drink,” a 56 year-old homeless man told St Augustine Police detective Michael Keegan last week, after he was taken into custody and charged with burglary (a third-degree felony) and larceny (a second-degree misdemeanor).
Still in custody today, Jerry Michael Groom is being held in lieu of a total of $8,500 bond, following his arraignment hearing last Saturday and added charges filed after review of available surveillance video taken into evidence.
A locked, outside bar at Scarlet O’Hara’s, located at 70 Hypolita Street in St Augustine, was burglarized sometime after it closed for the night on February 24th. The following morning, a staff member discovered that two bottles of liquor were taken during the break-in.
Groom was captured after two Scarlet O’Hara’s employees staked out the downtown bar at closing time the following night in an attempt to see if the late-night bandit would return to the scene of the crime. They were right.
At around 3:15 a.m., police say Groom climbed over the fence and this time took a bottle of Vodka from behind the bar. The employees detained Groom until police could respond.
Groom was evaluated at Flagler Hospital and transported to the St Johns County Detention Facility without further incident.
Keegan initially charged Groom with the Saturday morning burglary and theft. After reviewing surveillance video from both nights, officers were able to determine that Groom had been the same burglar from the night before. Keegan filed the additional charges after Groom was already in custody.