Two Manatee County men face charges after deputies say they are responsible for more than 20 convenience store burglaries.
An ongoing investigation of multiple smash-and-grab burglaries, involving law enforcement agencies from Manatee and Sarasota counties, resulted in the arrests of Louis A. Rivera, 47, and Scott H. Thibodeau, 39, both of Palmetto.
Investigators say the men are responsible for more than 20 burglaries in Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, and Desoto counties.
Investigators say hooded men drove a gold Saturn station wagon and smashed the front doors of small stores, stealing cigarettes, cash and other items.
The suspects were observed by investigators as they arrived at the BP gas station, 6812 14th St. W., Bradenton.
Investigators were inside the business when they say Rivera exited the vehicle driven by Thibodeau, smashed the front door with a hammer, and pried open the cash register.
The men were arrested without incident and charged with burglary, criminal mischief, and possession of burglary tools. Thibodeau also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Several more burglary charges from many jurisdictions will be filed in the days to come, investigators say.
Two female passengers in the vehicle have not been charged at this time, investigators say.