LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Evan Connell is proud that he can help to bust criminals, despite his disability. He helps the Lee county sheriff's office track property that may be stolen. He does so, despite his blindness.
"I do get some pleasure out of the fact that I can do that to catch some burglars who fence their stuff. It is ironic that a blind man is tracking down the property and the crooks," says Connell.
The 41-year old just marked his 17th anniversary of working at the Lee sheriff's office. He uses a special computer that translates words on the screen, into audio, allowing Connell to hear the information. He cross-references items that pawn shiops and recycling centers receive, looking for ties to stolen goods.
"If the crooks knew that a blind guy was helping to catch them, I guess they would just consider it to be bad luck," says Connell with a chuckle.
He found out at age 16 that he has retinitis pigmentosa, and would go blind.
"I was crushed. My family was crushed," he recalls. Also crushed were his desires to take over his family's ranch and citrus operation in Lee county.
Instead, he received a criminal justice degree in college, and got his job at the sheriff's office.
He credits training at the Lighthouse of Southwest Florida, for helping him immensely.
Lighthouse is a non-profit that helps the visually impaired.
"This goes to show that disabled people can do all sorts of jobs. Employers need to know that. They can get some great and committed employees, among the disabled," says Connell. "Just look at me, I have ways besides my eyes to help the detectives recover the stolen goods and arrest the burglars. I love that, because it makes me mad that people steal from others who work hard for their property."