On June 17, 2021, Sheriff Al Nienhuis and investigators of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) held a press conference following the arrest of a Spring Hill couple charged with 19 counts of construction burglary, drug charges and others incidental to the investigation.
In an additional update (after the press conference), both Rodney and Jennifer Brewer were each charged with an additional count of Burglary of a Structure. The additional charge brings the total number of Burglary of a Structure charges to 20 counts for both Rodney and Jennifer Brewer. As a result of the new charge, Rodney Brewer’s bond was increased to $205,000, while Jennifer Brewer’s bond was increased to $203,000. Both remain jailed at the Hernando County Detention Center.
According to Sheriff Al Nienhuis, the first report of stolen items from a home under construction was received by HCSO on May 16, 2021. The reported value of stolen items was approximately $5,000. At first thought to be an isolated incident, HCSO noticed a pattern as more reports were filed into early June.
Nienhuis reported a total of 18 sites burglarized, netting $70,000 in losses, as of this press conference.
The earliest arrest report related to this case was found on June 14, 2021 when Rodney Patrick Brewer and Jennifer Marie Brewer were arrested for trespassing on a construction site. Records show that the pair were released on bond for this arrest.
On June 17th, a storage unit was searched at CubeSmart Self Storage located at 4867 Commercial Way, in connection to the investigation. Records show that the pair were arrested on this day on multiple counts of Burglary of a Construction Site, as well as other incidental drug charges.
On June 20th, CubeSmart management contacted HCSO after discovering 8 nearby units were locked though they were not under rental agreements. It was discovered that the Brewers appropriated the units without a rental agreement or knowledge by CubeSmart staff. Items stolen from several construction sites were discovered inside these units during this part of the investigation.
During the press conference, Nienhuis advised that as the investigation proceeds, more individuals may be identified.
Anyone with further information can dial **TIPS (star, star, TIPS) on your cell phone. However, if you see a possible burglary in progress, dial 911.
Such a bold spree has not taken place since the last housing boom, which was before the crash of 2007. Nienhuis advised that homesites born in this latest building boom will be under scrutiny by the HCSO, and gave the following tips for builders, homeowners and neighbors:
Have a relationship with your Sheriff’s Office. When building begins, alert HCSO to the site address so that they can conduct routine patrols.
Affix a unique identifier to high risk items. A small mark on an inconspicuous part of an expensive item may help recover the item if it is stolen.
Install video surveillance. There are a number of companies offering devices that will upload video immediately to a cloud service that can be accessed later.
Limit the number of people who know about deliveries. Deliveries of appliances or other expensive items should only be shared among those who will install them immediately.
Check the site often, and report suspicious activity. Inform nearby neighbors. Do not engage suspicious individuals, but immediately call 911.