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Vacationers find squatters on arrival to island

By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter

Phillips

Baines

Two people were arrested July 6 after a confrontation with a family who encountered them in a Holmes Beach vacation home.

The family arrived around 11:15 p.m. July 5 at the vacation unit in the 100 block of 51st Street.

They discovered a man and woman, later identified as Bradley Scott Phillips, homeless, and Michelle Rae Baines, of Holmes Beach, according to a press release from Detective Sgt. Brian Hall of the Holmes Beach Police Department.

The family called 911, but before HBPD officers could arrive, a struggle over a bag caused a commotion between the family and the intruders.

A female family member reportedly saw Baines, 48, carrying a bag of items that belonged to the homeowner, and tried to grab it from Baines.

A tugging match ensued, according to the release.

As the women were struggling over the bag, Phillips, 44, came running to aid Baines, pushing past several of the other vacationers in the process, the report said.

He allegedly ran up to the woman holding the bag and grabbed her, the release said.

The woman’s husband pushed Phillips off his wife and demanded to know what the intruders were doing at the house, the release said.

Phillips allegedly said he and Baines came in through a window and he offered to leave without further incident, the report said.

Another vacationer said police were being called, which prompted Phillips and Baines to run empty-handed from the house, the release said.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office aviation and K-9 units and HBPD conducted a search, but Baines and Phillips were not located.

The next evening, the family was driving by Publix on East Bay Drive, where they spotted the two intruders.

They called police and identified Baines and Phillips as the two people they encountered in their rental unit.

Both Baines and Phillips admitted to being inside the home, but denied any involvement in a struggle with the vacationers and said they did not try to take anything from the home.

Phillips was wanted as a suspect in a similar burglary that occurred Dec. 29, 2013, in the 200 block of 78th Street in Holmes Beach.

That homeowner reported someone had been staying at the residence when they returned home after several weeks to find cigarette ashes and an unfamiliar bag of clothes remaining in the home.

Inside the bag, the homeowners found a pawn slip listing Bradley Phillips as the seller.

Phillips was not located until his July 6 arrest.

Phillips told Hall that he had stayed at the 78th Street residence, but had been arrested in the interim in Bradenton and was not able to return to get his belongings.

Both suspects were taken to the Manatee County jail.

Phillips faces charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling with battery and burglary to an unoccupied dwelling. He is being held on a $15,000 bond.

Baines was charged with burglary to an occupied dwelling and was released two days later on a $5,000 bond.

Both Baines and Phillips have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

One Response to Vacationers find squatters on arrival to island

  1. Patrick says:

    I’ll tell you how this ends: the local Asst States Attorney will lower their charges to Criminal Mischief and they will walk.

    They will walk right back to Anna Maria and invade yet another home. The cops will get a call, find them on a property and let them go with a warning to not do it again, at that house. The cycle begins anew.

    Ask me how I know exactly how this is going to go down, in detail…

    The local cities don’t care about protecting us from homeless burglars. They just want us to be quiet and stop complaining. The police chiefs are not working to end the tide of increasing homeless, and what steps they take are mostly public relations. Nothing is getting fixed.

    People are going to get hurt. Ask me how I know.

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