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Date of Issue: December 23, 2009

Sarasota teen sentenced for burglaries


A Sarasota teenager was sentenced to nine months in the county jail and four years probation after pleading no contest to 12 local burglaries.

Patrick S. Banker, 19, was arrested May 19 while fleeing from the Waterfront Restaurant in Anna Maria, which he broke into moments earlier. Banker, according to authorities, then confessed to a series of area burglaries committed last spring and winter.

A second man, John O’Keefe, 18 of Sarasota, also faces related charges of burglary and is scheduled to go to trial next February.

In Manatee County court last week, Banker pleaded no contest to 12 counts of burglary to an unoccupied structure, including two break-ins at the Waterfront Restaurant and one break in at the City Pier Restaurant in Anna Maria, a break-in at the Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach, five break-ins at Longboat Key shops, three break-ins in Bradenton and one in Cortez.

He received credit for time served in the jail.

Banker still faces a trial in February on two charges — that he allegedly broke into shops at 101 Bay Boulevard in Anna Maria and the American Car Care Center in Bradenton.

Two other burglary charges were dismissed.

Banker’s attorney, Varinia Van Ness, successfully argued to Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Smith that the charges should be dismissed because of failure to preserve evidence, specifically video surveillance of two alleged break-ins, one at a car wash in Bradenton and the other at Rotten Ralph’s on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach.

 Van Ness said copies of the surveillance tapes should have been made and, she claimed, the tape of the burglary at Rotten Ralph’s would have shown two white males entering the restaurant. Banker is African-American.