Man arrested after removing exterior door to get into elderly woman’s home in Winter Haven

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — Winter Haven police have arrested a brazen burglar who broke into an elderly woman’s home by removing a door.

Darryl Teal, 53, was identified and located riding a bike in Eloise.

Teal was taken to the Winter Have Police Department and refused to speak with detectives.

“I heard a clicking,” the 76-year old victim, who did not want to be identified, told News Channel 8. “I thought it was my heater turning on.”

But a surveillance camera recorded video of a suspect inside the woman’s home on Avenue O Southeast.

Investigators say at 10 a.m. on Jan. 18, the woman discovered that the kitchen door leading from the garage was standing open. She then found the exterior door to the garage had been removed from its hinges.

“I start making my pancake and I went to drop something in the garbage can sitting by the back door and that’s when I notice my door is hanging on its hinges,” the woman told News Channel 8.

Video of the interior of the home shows a white male entered the home through the kitchen and then went into the living room.

Something inside the home startled him and he immediately turned and left the residence.

“I thought good god, he must have heard the TV and me back there. He could have come back there,”  the woman said. She was at home at the time, but was not injured and nothing was taken.


“This is extremely concerning,” said Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird. “The brazen nature of someone taking a door off the hinges to gain entry in broad daylight could certainly lead to a dangerous scenario. I am so thankful this homeowner was not harmed during this, but this guy has the potential to strike again and an encounter with a homeowner could have a different result. This suspect must be caught.”

The woman tells WFLA she hasn’t been able to sleep because of the incident.

“I thought I was safe and I’m not. That’s what scary,” she said.

It’s unclear if Teal knew the victim.

He has an extensive criminal history that includes petit theft, trespassing, resisting an officer without violence, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine, armed robbery with a deadly weapon and more.

Teal was booked into the Polk County Jail Friday evening.

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