Woman who broke into house claims she just wanted to check on dogs, police say

Ring camera helps authorities catch suspect

LEESBURG, Fla. – A woman who claimed she broke into a house to check on dogs barking inside was caught red-handed thanks in part to a surveillance video system at the residence, according to the Leesburg Police Department.

Police said they received a call at about 9:53 a.m. Tuesday from a homeowner who said he got an alert from his Ring camera that someone was inside his home on Athens Drive. 

"In this case, a video system is exponentially greater to allow us to capture someone when they are committing a crime in progress," Lt. Joe Iozzi with Leesburg police said. 

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Officers arrived at the home and found one of the back windows broken, according to the affidavit. Police said Lisa Newman, 50, was peering at them through a sliding glass door.

Video from the surveillance camera shows officers with their guns drawn and a K-9 surrounding the home, with officers demanding Newman exit the residence. Newman inches a few steps until an officer grabs her by her arm and pulls her out of the home and onto the ground, video shows.

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"It can happen to anybody," homeowner Leanne Rose said. "We didn't think it was going to happen to us."

Rose and her boyfriend have lived at their home on Athens Drive in Leesburg for the past eight years. Coincidentally, they just installed security cameras one week ago. 

Police said Rose saw Newman through the surveillance app on her phone as she walked around the rear of the home and attempted to get in through the sliding glass door, but it was locked.

Newman went out of view from the outdoor camera, but then, moments later, was seen on one of the cameras inside the home, according to the affidavit.

The victim conducted a walk-through of the home and found the master bedroom and bathroom ransacked and a Publix bag, which did not belong to the victim, had been filled with candy bars and cleaning supplies, the report said.

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During an interview with police, Newman said she was walking near the residence and heard what sounded like dogs barking so she broke a window and went inside because she was concerned about the well-being of the animals, according to authorities.

Police did not say if there were any dogs inside the home.

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Police records show Newman lives just three houses down from where she is accused of burglarizing a home. 

Neighbors said Newman just moved to the area about three weeks ago. 

"I'm a person who believes neighbors are neighbors and they turn into family eventually," Rose said. "It's not safe, you can't talk to everyone anymore like that."

Newman suffered a small cut on the bottom of her left foot, a cut on her left elbow and a cut on her right foot that appeared to be from climbing through the broken window, police said. Fresh blood stains were visible inside the home near the broken window.

Newman was charged with burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and petit theft with two or more prior convictions.

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