HAINES CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A man with a lengthy criminal record forced his way into a home while the victims were sleeping Tuesday morning. Thanks in part to what the homeowner did with his gun, that man was arrested within hours.
Haines City police told News Channel 8 this happened around 1:30 a.m. at a home on Norma Avenue. They say the suspect, Rafael Angel Morales, kicked in the front door, armed with a rifle, and demanded cash.
According to the homeowners, Morales stole a 9mm weapon then ran out of the home.
Thankfully, the gun owner had a key piece of information police used to connect Morales back to the crime. They had the gun’s serial number.
Investigators immediately entered the number into a nationwide tracking system to flag the gun as stolen. Within hours, an Osceola County deputy pulled over a vehicle driving erratically in Kissimmee.
That was their lucky break in the case, as not only was Morales inside, but so was the gun. When they ran the serial number, Morales could be connected directly to the Haines City home invasion.
Deputy Chief of Police James Elensky said it’s information every gun owner needs to have handy and can be a vital crime solving tool for detectives.
Rafael Angel Morales has an extensive criminal history, including homicide and has served time in prison. He remains behind bars with multiple charges and no bond.
It’s also important to note, despite being shook up from the home invasion, the two Haines City residents were not injured.
It is, however, a situation Elensky said isn’t easy for anyone to deal with.
“They’re going to be emotionally scarred for a long time,” he stated.
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