PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Charlotte County detectives are continuing to investigate the report yesterday of an armed occupied residential burglary in the Oil Well Road area of Punta Gorda.
The events began Tuesday morning about 9:30 when the victim was home alone with her child and heard noises inside her house, which is in the area of the 30000 block of Oil Well Road in southern Punta Gorda. When she was checking the house for the cause of the noise, she saw two people in dark clothing and ski masks in her house. As she was fleeing from the house with her child, she saw three suspects fleeing from her house into the nearby woods. One of the suspects was carrying two of the victim’s purses. The victim got into her vehicle and drove down the road until responding deputies arrived.
The initial responding deputies set up a perimeter and began to search for the suspects. K9 Units from both the Sheriff’s Office and from nearby Charlotte Correctional Institute attempted to track the suspects through the woods. The Florida Highway Patrol assisted with establishing the perimeter, as did the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Due to the remoteness of the area, FWC also provided ATVs and a swamp buggy to assist in the search. The Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit responded to over-fly the area in the search for the suspects.
While tracking the suspects, the K9 Units located what appeared to be the victim’s two missing purses. Those items were later recovered by Sheriff’s Office crime scene personnel with the assistance of the FWC swamp buggy. All the property reported by the victim has having been stolen, with the exception of one item of jewelry, was eventually recovered.
As units were initially responding to the call, a Sheriff’s Office volunteer radioed that a white male wearing dark shorts and no shirt was walking on Oil Well Road toward US 41. Detectives who were on their way to the scene of the burglary stopped to speak with the man. The man had a white watch on his left wrist, black athletic shoes and was carrying a cell phone. Detectives noted that the man was wet from about his knees down to his shoes.
While the detectives were talking to the man, a CCI officer, who had been mowing grass in the area told them he had seen the same man coming out of the woods near the victim’s driveway. The officer said the man had been wearing long black pants, a black long sleeved shirt and a white banded watch on his left wrist while carrying a black shirt in his right hand when he saw him.
Detectives arrested Stephen Adam Twyman, 19, of 1605 Oakley Avenue in Fort Myers, on charges of Loitering and Prowling in that he was not able to explain his presence in the area of the burglary. Twyman was also charged with Violation of Probation since, according to his probation officer from Lee County, he was not allowed to be in Charlotte County. He is being held at the Charlotte County Jail with no bond as a result of the VOP charge.
During the course of the investigation, Twyman’s wet clothing as described by the DOC officer were located in a ditch along Oil Well Road a short distance from where he had been stopped. The on-scene investigation and the search and patrol of the area continued into the late afternoon and early evening hours Tuesdays.
As of today, the Sheriff’s Office has cleared from the scene and the investigation into this residential burglary is continuing. The suspects were described as two of them wearing black pants, long sleeved dark shirts and black ski masks while the third wore a black shirt with camouflage pants and a black mask.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to please call the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101, or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477).