When University Police (UP) pulled into the Castor Hall parking area early Wednesday morning, they discovered and arrested three males that were pulling on vehicles’ door handles.
A UP officer on a routine patrol called for backup after watching John William Wells, a pre-engineering student at USF, pull on the handles of several vehicles at 2 a.m.
When additional officers responded, they approached Tampa locals 18-year-old Izaiah Kingston Pillot and 18-year-old Kenneth Lee Gilbert, who attempted to walk away but were called back for questioning.
Wells, Pillot and Gilbert were arrested after an on-sight interview conducted by UP.
UP spokesman Lt. Christopher Daniel said that while conducting the interview, officers received a call from UP dispatch at 4 a.m. that reported two missing laptops from Castor Hall, which were then linked to the suspects.
“With the proximity of the building to the parking lot, the fact that one of the suspects lived in Castor, they started to put two and two together,” Daniel said. “Through more investigative efforts they were able to tie suspect Izaiah Pillot to the burglary and theft in Castor.”
Daniel said Wells and Gilbert were aware the stolen laptopss, but were not charged with the crime.
“Wells was not there when the theft occurred,” he said. “Pillot placed the laptops in (Wells’) room and told him about it afterward.”
At least three vehicles were broken into, Daniel said, and electronics were taken. More than $1,000 in stolen property was found in a vehicle driven by Gilbert that was parked nearby.
He said the electronic property, which included stereo equipment, speakers and GPS systems, was recovered by officers who are in the process of returning the items to their rightful owners.
After the suspects were arrested for probable cause, the police issued a routine search and found drugs.
“Incidental to their contact with these individuals they were able to recover marijuana,” Daniel said.
Wells was charged with loitering and prowling, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, grand theft and possession of marijuana with less than 20 grams.
Gilbert was charged with loitering and prowling, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, grand theft, possession of burglary tools and possession of marijuana with intent to sell within 100 feet of a college or university.
Pillot was charged for loitering and prowling, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, burglary of an unoccupied residence, three counts of grand theft and possession of marijuana with less than 20 grams.
Daniel said all three have to post bond to be released. Wells’ bond is posted at $4,750, Gilbert’s posted bond is $13,750 and Pillot’s is $16,250.
It is up to individuals in the University community to lock their vehicles, secure their items and mark them in order to track them down later, Daniel said. Valuables should not be left in cars and doors should not be left unlocked.
“As far as the community goes, we can only make it as safe as citizens want it to be,” he said. “Sometimes there’s a perception that once people are on campus they’re in a safe zone, but that’s not always the case.”