Deputies use stolen phone to narrow search of Charlotte County home invasion suspect

Homeowners in one local neighborhood were put on high alert Thursday as law enforcement flooded their streets.

James Langstine says it was just another quiet day until he began to spot helicopters and a heavy police presence.

“The next thing I know, helicopters and it seemed like all of Charlotte County was coming down the street,” he said.

Deputies pulled up to a man and woman sleeping in a car—and things quickly escalated.

Investigators say Kyle Bratcher got out of the car and then made a dramatic move. He fled from law enforcement and jumped in a canal, swimming away.

Investigators say while on the run, Bratcher broke in through the back of a home and stole a pair of green shorts and a cellphone. The homeowner was just steps away.

Police say Bratcher fled because he had drugs inside the car. The 32-year-old also had a lengthy criminal history. He’s been arrested on var

More: Manhunt underway for suspect who broke into Charlotte County residence

Now neighbors say they’re nervous and hope he’s caught soon.

“If they don’t find the individual then it’s like okay, now we have to be on our toes because there’s only three people that live on this street,” Langstine said.

Authorities say they are currently using technology to track the stolen cell phone and are hoping it narrows down Bratcher’s location.

Punta Gorda Police Department and Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office on scene at a home on Mandalay Road. Credit: WINK News / Kristi Gross