Charlotte County deputies responded to North Shore Drive in Port Charlotte just after midnight on Thursday, after an alert citizen called in to report hearing noise coming from a vacant residence. The caller then observed two males walking around another home and watched the males attempt to pull up the garage door. The caller was able to provide descriptions of the two males to dispatchers, as well as report on their location as they were walking toward Melbourne Street.
The first deputy arrived on scene and observed Stephen Torchia (8/10/75) standing in the area of North Shore and Melbourne. Torchia matched the description provided by the caller. Torchia complied with the deputy’s commands to stop, at which time the deputy observed noise coming from nearby bushes. After the deputy announced his presence and commanded the unknown person exit the woods, a male later identified as Eric Caterino (12/16/90) exited, observed the deputy, and fled from him on foot.
Additional deputies responding to the scene, including a canine unit. K9 Odin and his handler tracked Caterino behind several residences on North Shore Drive, eventually located him in the back yard of 4419 Melbourne Street. He was taken into custody with no injuries.
Neither suspect could provide any reasons for their behavior or actions that evening. The caller provided a statement on his observations, including the suspects attempting to gain entrance to the vacant residence. Given that information, and their inability to provide information to dispel the fear that they were about to or in the act of committing a crime, both men were arrested for Loitering and Prowling. Caterino was additionally charged with Resisting an Officer without Violence for fleeing from deputies.
Remember, you are the expert on what is normal for your neighborhood. Report suspicious activity immediately to the Sheriff’s Office at 941-639-0013.