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Traffic stop leads to burglary arrests

Special to Highlands Today
Published:   |   Updated: October 6, 2013 at 01:55 PM

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SEBRING - Two suspects arrested in connection with burglary of a closed restaurant in Sebring Thursday remained in Highlands County Jail Sunday.

Michael Stephen Sramek Jr., 26, of 4324 Elson Ave., Sebring, was charged with driving without a valid license and violation of probation and remains in custody on no bond.

Darrel Mat Tomblin, 31, of 5049 NE 224th St., Okeechobee, was charged with dealing in stolen property. He remains in jail with a bond of $15,000.

The arrests came about after a traffic stop on Sramek's vehicle, said a news release from the Highlands County Sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office has stepped up its "burglary patrol" due to many recent burglaries "in a concentrated area," the news release adds.

Deputies stopped Sramek, who was in the targeted area and found a large flat-screen TV in the vehicle that could not be explained.

Sramek provided deputies with information that led them to a restaurant on U.S. 27 that has been closed. They found an open door in the back and several more TVs stacked up for what appeared to be a pick-up. The inside of the building was ransacked, the news release adds.

More investigation led authorities to Tomblin.

"This proactive patrol assignment paid off ... and the thieves were interrupted. Several suspects are in custody and others are being pursued," said sheriff's office spokeswoman Nell Hays.

Sheriff Susan Benton thanked the criminal investigations unit.

"It is very difficult for our road patrol deputies to find time in between calls for help to give special time and attention to these type situations," Benton said. "Captain LaBelle and Lieutenants Barcinas and McGann put the teams together and these bad guys got our full attention today."

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information on this or other burglaries in the area should contact Detective Ross Porter of the Highlands County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Unit at 402-7274.

Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-8477, or go to www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com

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