PORT ST. JOE – A father and son who teamed up to burglarize a houseboat but were caught when their own boat had mechanical difficulties have been sentenced to 10 years each in prison, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Andy Hysmith, 63, and Anthony T. Hysmith, 41, who both listed Wewahitchka addresses, each pled guilty to Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Wearing a Mask While Committing a Burglary of a Dwelling, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Destruction or Tampering with Evidence.
Gulf County Circuit Court Judge Devin Collier sentenced both men to 10 years in prison Friday. The first three years are a minimum/mandatory under Florida’s enhanced laws involving Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
The arrests and investigation were conducted by the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Chief Gulf County Prosecutor Tracy Smith was prepared to prove that on Jan. 31, 2023, the defendants broke into a houseboat near Bryant’s Landing and stole a number of items.
“Burglary is a serious crime and can be traumatic for the people whose private homes are violated,” Smith said. “We will continue to treat cases like this seriously, whether it’s a stand-alone home, a mobile home, or, as in this case, a houseboat.”
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The evidence would have shown the owners of the houseboat were out of town, but the vessel was equipped with surveillance equipment that alerted him there were people on his boat. They contacted a friend and sent him surveillance footage, and that friend contacted deputies.
A deputy went to Bryant’s landing and saw a boat approaching, but it left when it saw his vehicle. Other deputies and law enforcement officers joined the search. The vessel was again spotted on the Chipola River and fled until it encountered a mechanical issue.
Evidence showed Andy Hysmith was seen throwing a firearm into the water and that both he and his son were wearing the same clothes as the two men in the surveillance footage. They also had items from the houseboat that belonged to the victim, some of which they also threw overboard.
Basford thanked the investigating agencies for their coordinated work in apprehending the suspects and making the arrests.
For additional information contact Mike Cazalas at email@example.com or (850) 381-7454.