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Date of Issue: July 21, 2010

Tide & Moon burglar pleads no contest

Derek Lauterbach, 27, pleaded no contest July 13 for burglarizing the Tide & Moon jewelry store in the AMI Plaza in Holmes Beach.

Lauterbach, of Holmes Beach, at a Manatee County docket hearing, pleaded no contest to a second-degree felony charge of burglary to an unoccupied structure while wearing a hooded mask or other device that concealed his identity, and was sentenced to two years in prison and 13 years of probation. After Lauterbach pleaded no contest, Judge Diana Moreland found him guilty. In addition, Lauterbach was ordered to pay $28,000 in restitution to Tide & Moon’s Lara Schely.

“But I’ll never get it,” Schely said. “A cop told me the officers don’t have time to hunt these people down after they get out of prison and make sure they’re working to pay the money back. (Lauterbach) would have to get out of jail and commit another felony and go for 15 years.”

Moreland dropped another count of burglary against Lauterbach, who also allegedly targeted other retail stores Dec. 18 near the corner of Gulf and Marina drives. Cash and merchandise was taken from AMI Fitness, Mister Roberts Resortwear and the Color of Coconut, across Gulf Drive from Tide & Moon. All were burglarized before 7 a.m.

At the time he pleaded no contest, Lauterbach was in the Manatee County jail for an April 13, first-degree misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Lauterbach will get credit for time served on his burglary conviction from the date of his July 13 plea.

According to the Manatee County clerk of courts, Lauterbach has been charged with five felonies, including the Tide & Moon burglary.

“He also can’t come within 500 feet of the store or wherever I am for 15 years,” Schely said.

The Holmes Beach Police Department on March 18 arrested Lauterbach as a result of DNA evidence that identified Lauterbach as the perpetrator of the crime.

On the morning of Dec. 18, Schely’s store was broken into and numerous items were stolen. Also, there was damage to her fixtures, displays and other items.

Schely said she has a pending civil law suit for $26,410 against Lauterbach’s mother, Debbie Lauterbach, for allegedly helping Derek get rid of the stolen items and for not turning Derek into authorities.

Debbie Lauterbach on March 9 signed an affidavit to the county, saying she walked into her son’s bedroom and saw jewelry on his bed. “When I asked where he got it,” Debbie wrote, “he told me he broke into jewelry store while unoccupied and took jewelry. He gave some to his girlfriend … Derek told me to get rid of what was left so I did because I was scared.”

Schely said she’s glad Derek Lauterbach is in prison. “But it doesn’t help me,” she said. “Let’s hope it helps him.”

Schely said she is celebrating his sentence with a “The creeper is in jail sale,” where she’s offering 20-percent off any one item.