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Burglar caught on camera tracked down by homeowner

Posted at 6:56 PM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 06:43:03-04
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- A man who faced off with a thief who burglarized his home says when he caught the guy trying to steal from him a second time authorities weren't much help. 
 
Each time Steve Lawrence watches the video of the overnight heist it brings back his anger.  "I work hard for every bit that I have and I hate like hell to have someone steal it from me."
 
He explained to Fox 4 that he called the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office after the initial incident and showed them the surveillance video.  The very next night, Lawrence stayed in his car at 3:00 a.m and spotted the same vehicle the suspect was driving the night before. 
 
He notified authorities and began to pursue the suspect. Lawrence says he followed the vehicle for 30 minutes before stopping at a Walmart. 
 
"With a beautiful side shot view of the individual, 4-5 feet from the camera of an HD 1080 camera they still didn't make the arrest," said Lawrence.
 
An arrest report from CCSO states deputies questioned the suspect Brent Hughes at the Walmart, photographed him and let him go.
 
A spokesperson for the department says there wasn't enough probable cause to make the arrest that night. Lawrence says he wasn't told why Hughes wasn't taken into custody. 
 
"They didn't give any reason. I was really disappointed I told them, look you have a picture of him on your cell phones," said Lawrence.
 
Hughes eventually confessed to the crime after being arrested for an unrelated incident. He is charged with burglary of an unoccupied home and grand theft.