Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Task Force to Target Home Invasion Robberies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Task Force to Target Home Invasion Robberies

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen, Times-Union staff writer

Violent home invasion robberies, including those that left three people dead this year, will be targeted by a new Jacksonville Sheriff's Office task force, authorities said.

Detectives and supervisors from the department's homicide, narcotics, robbery, intelligence, crime analysis and a street crimes unit will form the specialized task force to investigate the bold break-ins that often have roots in the drug trade, Assistant Chief Steve Weintraub said yesterday.

Through June 30, there have been 79 Jacksonville home invasions this year, up from 49 at the midpoint of last year, Weintraub said.

He said while it appeared there was no connection among the robberies, home invasions are usually not random. Attackers often have had dealings with victims or know something about them.

Some suspects may be responsible for multiple attacks, he said.

"Usually, there is some kind of prior knowledge there," Weintraub said. "Historically, they are drug related."

Two of those killed this year died in the past week. Last year, two people were killed in home invasion robberies through late July, Weintraub said.

Daimione Ethridge, 26, was killed Monday after three men burst into his apartment on Moncrief Road, forced his girlfriend from bed and shot Ethridge several times. Joseph LaSota, 77, was found in his home Friday. He had been beaten to death with a blunt object.

No one has been arrested in either case.

Weintraub said while random attacks do occur, they are likely to take place at places like hotels and motels, where people can be seen entering rooms with luggage, computer laptops and other items.

"The ones we find that are random . . . usually will occur opportunistically," he said.

He said those interested in information about safety at home can call the Sheriff's Office at 630-2160.

CRIME NEWS

DEATH A HOMICIDE: Homicide has been ruled the cause of death of a man whose body was found inside a Jacksonville apartment Monday. …

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