Panama City Beach police reveal more details about recent home invasion
Last Saturday, Feb. 1, Panama City Beach police responded to a robbery in broad daylight.
"We were out and about the other night and we had a phone call from one of our friends that live right behind us. They said there was a bunch of SWAT (teams) and police cars all around, it kind of scared us there," neighbor Barbara Strausbaugh said.
Police officials say Robert Wagner broke into a home to find shelter. They say the victim walked in on Wagner in the kitchen, where it appeared he was making food.
Neighbor Kevin Campbell says he's spoken to the victims since then - a woman and her brother.
"They say it was dramatic and everything like that," Campbell said. "It was quick and they weren't ready for it."
Wagner tied up the woman, and later, police say he "pistol-whipped" the man and tied him up too, taking off in their vehicle.
With the help of a GPS system in the stolen car, police located Wagner at a motel in Jefferson County, dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
It was a quick turnaround by investigators, who believe the home invasion was an isolated incident.
"There's no indication that he was spying on (the victims) or following them or anything along those lines," Panama City Beach police Lieutenant JR Talamantez said.
Lt. Talamantez also says Wagner had been arrested the month before for another burglary.
"Mr. Wagner bailed out, and when he bailed out he remained in the area because we received information from several people because they were concerned that they saw him around," he added.
Police also say the victim returned from a week-long vacation when she found Wagner.
The home invasion turns into a reminder for other locals.
"Try to, when you leave for an extended amount of time, leave the appearance someone is still staying in the house, so people don't think the house is vacant," Lt. Talamantez said.
Police also advise to make sure all doors are locked and to not hide keys in any easily found places.
Lt. Talamantez also says they are now investigating other burglaries in the same time period, as Wagner may possibly be linked to those as well.