Florida man brings 4-year-old girl with him to commit burglaries, deputies say

Suspect faces child neglect charge

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor, Clay LePard - Reporter

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A 4-year-old girl tagged along while a man lurked around residences and committed burglaries, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said they received a call around 8 a.m. Thursday from a witness who saw a man and a little girl, both carrying large bags, prowling on a neighbor's property on the 100 block of Charles Street.

The property owner then realized that someone had taken his boat, which had been suspended in the air by the dock, put it in the water, then tampered with the wires in an attempt to get it to start, the affidavit said.

A witness said she saw the man, later identified as 35-year-old James Giambra, in the boat and heard the girl ask, "What are you doing?" as he attempted to start it, according to the report.

Shortly before noon, deputies said they received another report of a man and a girl walking through yards and looking in utility sheds on Coleman Street.

Susan Whisler stood on her outside deck speaking with deputies and although she said no one was home, deputies heard a man's voice coming downstairs and realized that Giambra had broken in, records show.

"And I said no, I'm home alone," she said. "And he said, 'I'm hearing voices' and I said, 'no I'm home by myself.'" 

Giambra told deputies he was inside the home and unarmed, so they went with their guns and Tasers drawn to take him into custody, according to the report.

Deputies said the 4-year-old girl was at the bottom of the stairs, crying hysterically.

The girl handed a deputy an iPod touch, which she admitted taking from a car parked in the homeowner's garage. The girl's pink hat was found in the vehicle, the report said.

"I've been doing this for several years, and I've never seen [this,]" Deputy Brian Walsh said. "What is this parent thinking? Why would you put your daughter through that? Why are you teaching your kids that?" 

Burnt tin foil, a blue straw, methamphetamine and several stolen sets of keys were found in Giambra's pocket, according to the affidavit. He denied doing anything wrong.

"His 4-year-old daughter had more common sense than he did, when deputies walked up, she turned in the ipod he stole," Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. "What are you doing? What are you thinking? It's your 4-year-old and you want to take her out for a crime spree Father's Day weekend?" 

He was arrested on multiple charges, including child neglect, burglary and grand theft.

The girl's grandmother took her home.

Whisler told News 6 she's looking into new security measures since Giambra's family lives nearby, and she fears her home could be burglarized again if Giambra gets out of jail. 

"My peace of mind has been taken," she said. 
 

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