South Tampa homeowner helps track down vandal
Jordan Bowen reports
TAMPA, Fla. – Police are searching for a man seen on multiple surveillance cameras in South Tampa causing damage to a restaurant, a man’s home and later seen stealing packages from woman’s doorstep. One of the victims was able to track down the man believed to be responsible after talking with residents and businesses in the area.
When Phil Giraldo first reported the vandalism to the Tampa Police Department on Saturday, he said they never really followed up with him, so he started investigating himself. After talking with people, he found the same man on several other people’s cameras and was eventually able to get his name and information he’s now handed over to police.
Surveillance video shows the man throwing a rock through the door of Loli’s Mexican Cravings on Gandy Boulevard shattering the glass just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Just four minutes later, the same man can be seen on Phil Giraldo’s ring camera throwing a beer bottle at his front door shattering the glass.
“I was furious at first. Yeah. Extremely upset. I’m just puzzled. Completely. Like, you know, like, what did I do to you, man?” Giraldo said.
Giraldo reported it to Tampa police Saturday morning. He said the officer showed up around 11, took down his information and gave him a report number, but didn’t ask for the beer bottle which Giraldo offered up to police as potential evidence.
“Once he started giving me all of that, you know, like blowing me off basically, like, we’re not really going to do anything for you, man,” Giraldo said. “You’re just stuck with the bill. That’s kind of like when I started putting everything together and. Getting pretty, pretty teed off, you know, at the system. And I just started, you know, doing my own investigation, man.”
Giraldo learned from neighbors the same happened to Loli’s Mexican Cravings, which now has a piece of cardboard covering their shattered door. Once Giraldo saw their surveillance video, he knew it was the same man.
“When I called the police, they told me all I had to fill out an online police report,” Loli’s Mexican Cravings General Manager Tim Desmond said. “They didn’t want to come investigate anything and see if there was any evidence that they could pick up.”
After checking the Nextdoor app, Giraldo learned the same man was spotted a third time. The suspect was spotted on a woman’s door step stealing several packages around 2:45 a.m. Saturday. Giraldo visited the only bar nearby which is Barefoot Billy’s Friendly Tavern and learned after the showing the bartender the video the same man came in for drinks and paid with a credit card. The Bar and Giraldo have since turned over all this information to police.
“It’s like left to us to do our own detective work and that’s not right,” Giraldo said.
As of Monday night, FOX 13 is still waiting to hear back from Tampa police as to whether any arrests have been made.