Over $100,000 worth of electronics and merchandise was stolen from two Best Buy stores in Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale Police are looking to see not only whether these two burglaries are connected, but whether they are connected to other similar burglaries statewide.
Burglary detectives look for similar characteristics in burglaries to see if they could have been committed by the same offender or offenders.
Detectives will look to the method of entry to see if it matches that of other recent burglaries. Was a glass window or door shattered? Did the offender(s) enter through the ceiling? Did they cut a hole in the wall? Burglars will typically use the same method of entry for each burglary.
A business burglary (burglary of a structure) is different than a burglary of a dwelling because businesses are often equipped with better surveillance and security than your average home. This is why business burglaries often pose more creative methods of entry than that of your standard residential burglary.
Video surveillance is important. However, many burglaries are committed by people who have disguised themselves or covered their faces, so this evidence isn't always 100% reliable.
Detectives will also look to see what items are taken. Small, portable items like iPads and cellphones are often targeted because they can be carried in your hand and transported quickly. Larger, bulkier items like televisions and stereo equipment are often left behind in lieu of smaller items.
Detectives will track the stolen items to pawn shops and obtain the pawn affidavit. This pawn affidavit bears a thumbprint and a signature which can be compared to others.
And of course, fingerprints and DNA swabs. Nearly all burglary scenes are processed by crime scene investigators who will examine surfaces for fingerprints and DNA. Fingerprints and DNA information for convicted felons are kept in databases both statewide and throughout the United States. If the DNA swab or fingerprint impression matches that of somebody with a prior criminal record, a match could be made.
Crime scene investigators will then compare those standards against DNA and fingerprints found at other burglary sites. Other than a confession, this is the most common way that burglaries are linked.
Speaking of confessions, this is a common law enforcement tool. A suspect will be apprehended on one burglary and will be questioned about several others. Under questioning, a suspect may reveal that they are responsible for several other burglaries.
Burglary of an unoccupied structure is a third-degree felony in Florida punishable by up to 5 years in prison. However, additional charges normally accompany burglary charges, such as criminal mischief and grand theft.