The following story was previously published on Lake Legal News.
MASCOTTE, Florida — A pair of accused thieves are behind bars after stealing from a wrecked police cruiser.
Shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday, Mascotte Police officers responded to a single-car crash involving a Mascotte Police officer at North Talbott Avenue and East Myers Boulevard in Mascotte. The cruiser — which caught fire — was totaled, the officer badly injured, and numerous items were ejected as a result of the crash, according to arrest affidavits.
Police observed Lisa Carol Goodwin, 52, standing around near the crash scene with other civilians, according to an arrest affidavit. Bystanders told police that Goodwin was “stealing items from the Mascotte patrol vehicle and around the vehicle.” According to the affidavit, Goodwin was searched with negative results — however a witness later came forward and told police that he had purchased a flashlight from Goodwin for $10. Upon learning the flashlight was a stolen item, the witness contacted police and provided a sworn statement.
An eyewitness flagged an officer down and said she saw a man, later identified as Robert Charles Caruso, 37, take a scale, a flashlight, a knife and a vape that belonged to the officer.
Police found Caruso walking east on Myers Boulevard and “observed bulging objects coming from his pocket,” an affidavit states. Police asked what was in his pockets and he emptied them, and stated he was going to return the items to the injured officer at the hospital. Police secured Caruso and found a syringe filled with a clear liquid that tested positive for methamphetamine, though Caruso told officers, “it’s just water that’s in there.”
According to police, Goodwin claimed Caruso gave her the flashlight — which Goodwin admitted “she knew it belonged to the Mascotte Police officer that crashed.” Goodwin’s arrest affidavit notes, “The defendant uttered, ‘I knew you guys were coming for me.’”
Goodwin and Caruso were both arrested and taken to the Lake County Jail. Goodwin is facing charges of dealing in stolen property, larceny of law enforcement equipment from a vehicle and tampering or fabricating evidence. She is being held on $7,000 bond. Caruso was charged with larceny of law enforcement equipment from a vehicle, tampering with evidence and possession of methamphetamine. He is being held on $5,000 bond.