Deputies and investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) have been hot on the trail of the suspects involved in a string of burglaries occurring in the Driftwood Estates area in South Walton. Yesterday, deputies responded to 901 East Mack Bayou in reference to a suspicious persons call. An elderly neighbor made contact with two male individuals in her neighbor’s yard who were hanging around a window at the back of the house. They quickly fled after the neighbor spoke to them.
Law enforcement and the owner of the residence were contacted and deputies found an open window, as well as a damaged window screen. Deputies were able to locate subjects, Miguel Arceo, 16 of Santa Rosa Beach and Thomas Howells, 22, of Santa Rosa Beach. After gathering more information during the investigation, both were arrested and charged with Burglary of a Structure and Criminal Mischief.
The two have also been linked to several other burglaries in the Driftwood Estates area. Howells has additionally been charged with one count of Felony Criminal Mischief, one count of Grand Theft, two counts of Burglary, one count of Dealing in Stolen Property, one count of Grand Theft of a Firearm and one count of Grand Theft from the Elderly. Arceo has been charged with one count of Felony Criminal Mischief, one count of Grand Theft, one count of Grand Theft from the Elderly, one count of Grand Theft of a Firearm, and two counts of Burglary.
Both were transported for booking to the Walton County Department of Corrections. Arceo was subsequently transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice Detention Center in Crestview. This continues to be an active investigation.