Suspect arrested in Middleburg neighborhood crime spree

Published On: Jun 04 2014 10:52:02 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 04 2014 11:56:36 PM EDT

A Clay county neighborhood is locking up their lawn equipment and outdoor toys to avoid being targeted again by a thief.


Clay County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested 23-year-old Joshua Yezbick in connection with a series of burglaries and thefts in a Middleburg neighborhood.

Yezbick (pictured below) faces four counts of burglary and four counts of grand theft, and investigators said he didn’t go far to find his victims — he lives within walking distance of all of them.

“I went out there and all of our lawn equipment was gone,” said Jeff Arp, one of Yezbick's neighbors in Pine Ridge. “They took a weed eater, they took our edger, our blower was left there. Some of the other neighbors cleared their blowers, too. They took everything out of the sheds.”

Arp said his first thought after his backyard shed was targeted by a thief was protecting his four children.

“I’ve got a privacy fence on the side of my yard, so my first concern was did they walk through my gate?” Arp said. “I have children in the house, so that’s a concern.”

Arp was one of four homeowners hit in the tight-knit Middleburg neighborhood of Pine Ridge. He said he lost more than $200 worth of items, but others lost more.

“Somebody had a pressure washer that was stolen, so you know about $400-$500 there,” Arp said. “We believe, somebody had a handgun taken, and we believe that’s probably tied to it as well.”

According to Yezbick's arrest report, he was pawning the stolen goods and pocketing the cash.

“He’s young,” Arp said. “Hopefully he’s going to learn from this. Hopefully this is that slap on the wrist that some young boys get and hopefully it’ll straighten him out.”

With a newly formed neighborhood watch in place, Arp said the crime spree has taught the neighbors a valuable lesson and brought them closer together.

“We had a good talking with them, so it’s opened up everybody’s eyes to let them know, 'Hey, let's keep the garage shut,'” Arp said. “When you’re done with your bikes, let's get them in the garage. Where before we took that all for granted.”

Yezbick is currently being held on $120,000 bond.


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