An Ocala man with a criminal background is being held in the Marion County Jail without bond after he and another man were allegedly caught attempting a burglary inside a vacant residence and in possession of a stolen car.
Jeremy Dean Pruett, 40, of, 3313 NE 16th St., was charged with two counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a weapon or ammunition by a felon, and grand theft of a motor vehicle. He’s been in and out of jail a half-dozen times since October 2018, most recently for possession of meth on Jan. 27.
Also arrested was Steven Alexander Pilkons, 40, of 1510 NE 55th St. He was charged with two counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling.
Marion County sheriff’s deputies responded shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday to an address on NE 35th Street, where a man reported he had caught a man inside his grandfather’s vacant house. He held the man, later identified as Pilkons, in the front yard until law enforcement arrived, according to the sheriff’s office report.
Pilkons told deputies that another man, whom he identified as Pruett, was also inside the residence but had fled the scene. A neighbor reported she saw two men enter a neighboring residence and that she got a good look at the man who fled. Based on Pilkons’ statements and the witness’ description, deputies were able to apprehend Pruett as he approached his residence, the report said.
Back at the incident location, Pilkons admitted that he and Pruett had entered the residences. He said he was riding with Pruett and Pruett told him he knew somewhere they could go and get items. Pilkons said they went to the first residence and Pruett told him the items weren’t inside and they must have been moved, according to the report.
Pilkons said they went to the second residence and he waited inside the front door while Pruett went inside to look for things. Pilkons said at that point, the homeowner’s grandson showed up with a gun and told him to get on the ground. Pilkons said he complied while Pruett fled the scene. the report said.
Meanwhile, deputies checked the car outside the residence and found out it had been stolen from a used-car lot on Jan. 24. A plastic bag of a white substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine was sitting in plain view in the center console. Also located in the vehicle was a box of Winchester 12-gauge shotgun shells, and a single matching shell was in the ash tray underneath the radio. Deputies also found an iPhone in the back yard, according to the report.
Pilkons said he didn’t know the vehicle was stolen and that Pruett obtained it about two weeks ago. He also said Pruett sells drugs on the side and that the drugs belonged to him, the report said.
Pruett denied any involvement in the incident whatsoever. He said he hadn’t been at either residence and the vehicle belonged to Pilkons. Pruett said he and Pilkons were at his residence when Pilkons got mad, left in the vehicle and stole his iPhone. He said he didn’t know anything about the drugs, according to the report.
A criminal records check revealed Pruett has three felony convictions in North Carolina. Pilkons doesn’t have any convictions.
Both men were arrested and taken to jail. Pilkons was released Thursday on $5,000 bond and will appear in Marion County Court on March 10. Pruett is scheduled to appear in court on March 3.