To The Editor:
Your article about Jeffery Dodd, in the Lehigh Citizen last week an online at Lehighacrescitizen.com, being recognized for helping the Sheriff's investigators catch a house burglar was a good example for those of us who might see suspicious activities of this nature. He did what the Neighborhood Watch program teaches us to do.
My friend and his partner had bought a foreclosed house this summer to fix up and sell, hoping to make some money on the work. As they were passing by recently, they saw a suspicious car parked in the driveway and pulled in behind to check it out.
Sure enough there were two burglars inside ripping out water pipes and appliances besides tearing up the air conditioning outside.
One owner called 911. Once confronted by the owners, the men tried to make a getaway and started a fist fight; then one man fled on foot while the other began to ram the car that the owners parked behind him.
A high speed chase during school bus hours was finally concluded with the Sheriff's deputies and a helicopter catching both men at considerable expense.
Lehigh Acres and many areas in Florida are getting bad reputations for houses being robbed and a rise in crime of this type. It is not only frustrating investors and realtors but subtracting from home values for all of us homeowners in Lehigh Acres. Insurance rates are affected and law enforcement officers and prosecutors are frustrated by burglars they have caught being immediately released on bond to require another manhunt when placed on probation by a lenient court.
I have asked that local persons in leadership rolls here back a petition to the local Legislative Delegation demanding stronger sentencing that can deter men from stealing and breaking into vacant houses because regardless of what it costs to keep men in jail; we all end up paying indirectly in other ways when they come back to commit another crime. Our State Representative Matt Caldwell has offered to draft a bill designed to require mandatory jail time for repeat offenders and I will distribute his work among our leaders for backing. We must help the deputies and citizens to tighten up on stealing and violence.
John C. Miller