Luck ran out for a busy gang of little burglars when three of the youngsters toyed with a Polaroid camera, and left photographs of themselves at a crime scene, police said.
"They were good pictures," said Dennis Henegar, owner of Douglas Manufacturing, a Clearwater awning, screen and window company that was burglarized.Henegar said his son found the photographs after he opened the shop for business on Aug. 11.
"He noticed the window was open, saw that the cash box was empty, and found the three pictures . . . there they were, grinning from ear to ear," he said. Besides $20 or $30, the camera was also stolen.
Henegar, in an interview in Saturday's editions of The Tampa Tribune, said he believes the boys left the pictures, which take a few minutes to develop, because they mistakenly thought the film was bad.
"When they first come out, there's nothing there," he said of the instant snapshots. "I can just see them throwing the pictures down and saying `These are no good.' "
The photos were turned over to police, and one officer recognized one of the boys, said police Lt. Jack Dowling. Since the first boy was arrested Aug. 12, detectives have connected seven children aged 7 to 14 with 23 burglaries in southwestern Clearwater, he said.
Most were charged with burglary, and some were charged with armed burglary for carrying knives or screwdrivers. They were released into the custody of their parents.