A 32-year-old man is facing several felony charges after he was allegedly caught burglarizing a home in Marion County.
On Tuesday, two Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a residence located in the 17000 block of SW 27th Street in Dunnellon. A neighbor had advised that he heard banging from inside the residence, and a “strange truck” was observed in the back yard, according to the arrest report.
The report stated that the residence in question has a “history of burglaries.”
Upon arrival at the incident location, the deputies heard banging from inside the residence, and a 2010 Nissan pickup truck was spotted in the back yard with several items in the back of it. The deputies then observed a man, later identified as Matthew Thomas Stephens, running off the back porch, according to the arrest report.
Stephens was detained by the deputies. After being read his Miranda rights, Stephens admitted that he had been “removing items” from inside the residence. The report stated that he then pointed to items in the back of his truck that belonged to the homeowner/victim, which included a scale ($100 value), air conditioner unit ($50 value), space heater ($10 value), ornamental hook ($5 value), and stapler ($5 value).
According to the report, the victim told law enforcement that she was not home at the time of the incident. She advised that she did not know Stephens, and “nobody other than herself” had permission to be inside the residence.
A neighbor of the victim claimed that Stephens’ truck had been observed near the incident location at “around dusk” the previous evening, and an unknown item was visible in the back of the truck.
During the post-Miranda interview with deputies, Stephens admitted that he was at the incident location the day before, though he claimed that he was “never at the [victim’s] residence with anybody else.” He also stated that he was “looking for scrap metal” while inside the home. The interview concluded when he refused to further discuss the incident without an attorney present, according to the report.
A pat-down search of Stephens was conducted, and a container was found in his right pocket. Inside the container, the deputies found several syringes, a clear baggie, and a piece of paper containing tinfoil and a small amount of a white powdery substance. The report stated that this substance later field-tested positive for fentanyl.
Stephens was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail, where he is currently being held on $10,000 bond. He is being charged with unarmed burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, grand theft of a dwelling (over $100 but less than $300), possession of fentanyl, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.