LABELLE, FL. -- While investigating a burglary in the city limits of LaBelle a subsequent burglary was reported in the same neighborhood. Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden and Investigators began an all day search of the suspect, 38 year old Douglas Hunter of LaBelle.
In the evening hours Sheriff Whidden was able to track down Hunter at the River's Edge Motel where he found him with 25 year old Margaret Astorga. After being invited into the room Hendry County Sheriff's Deputies were given permission to search for suspected property that had been taken earlier on.
Deputies located 19 pieces of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and approximately $7,600.00 suspected to be have been taken previously from a residential floor safe that had been forced open. All but $2,081.00 monies spent by Hunter and Astorga was returned to the owner.
Margaret Michelle Astorga was charged with Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and is currently being held on a $4,500. Hunter is being held on two counts of Burglary Unoccupied Structured, and two county of Larceny. He is currently being held on $18,000.00 bond and is suspected to be involved in numerous other burglaries.
Sheriff Whidden stated, ''Due to the above average burglary rate, I have commanded all my Command and Administrative staff to dedicate 50% of their time to be on the street in an effort to quell the burglaries. It does appear to be working as there has been a decline in the number of reported burglaries and thefts. This does take away from their normal duties, but due to the financial situation and high call volume this is a must.''
If anyone has any information regarding any burglary or crime in Hendry County you are encourage to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).