Man arrested for multiple business burglaries

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Bernard Lawson, Jr., 38, was arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of property damage, two counts of possession of burglary tools, and one count of grand theft in connection with recent burglaries of Subway and TD Bank.

At about 11:40 p.m. on May 25, the power to the Subway at 203 NE 39th Avenue was cut off, then at midnight, three black men broke the glass in the front door and stole a safe from behind the counter and money from the register. The loss to the business was about $2,800 on top of the value of the door, which was estimated at $500. The burglars were clearly shown on the store’s surveillance cameras.

Although the men covered their faces and wore gloves, one had a distinctive tattoo on his arm and carried a crowbar. A second tattoo was seen on the other arm, although it was not clearly captured. A Gainesville Police Department detective searched the GPD records database for black male suspects with arm tattoos and found that Lawson had the same tattoo on his arm. The detective also reportedly found pictures of Lawson on Facebook that showed the second tattoo.

The detective looked up Lawson’s registered vehicle, a pickup truck, and found that the tag had expired in 2021. He also found cameras showing that vehicle in Gainesville on May 30 with another one of the Subway suspects in the bed of the truck.

At about 10 p.m. on May 31, the same three suspects were reportedly shown on surveillance cameras breaking into an ATM machine at TD Bank at 600 NW 43rd Street. The men were not successful in taking cash from the ATM, but they caused about $30,000 in damage to the machine. Lawson was reportedly seen with bolt cutters and a crowbar in that surveillance video footage.

Officers made contact with Lawson yesterday while he was driving his truck in the area of 1000 SE 4th Avenue. He was arrested, and a search of his truck reportedly produced cloth gloves, latex gloves, bolt cutters, and a crowbar.

Lawson has four felony convictions (one violent) and nine misdemeanor convictions (one violent). He has served one state prison sentence for robbery and cocaine possession and was released in 2005. He was arrested with his brother in March 2022 and charged with driving without a valid license and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; because the firearm was in the vehicle when the men were arrested, his brother was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. All charges were later dropped.

Bail information is unavailable on weekends.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • The police are doing their jobs…the detectives are doing their jobs. Who is not doing their job? The judges and the lawyers. The police are turning these criminals over to the court system, and our Liberal court system is FAILING our community. Lock these individuals up for 3-5 years. The purpose of prison is to protect society first and foremost, and the Gainesville community will be a better place if this man is not around for at least 3 years.

  • All Charges were later dropped? Is that why the law enforcement cost just goes up and up and up. Who let these criminals go in 2022?

  • Jeez, ya gotta wonder how many dozens of crimes were committed by this guy since his
    release from prison in 2005, and how many victims suffered as a result of his crimes…come on State Attorney and judges, PLEASE DO YOUR JOBS and PROTECT US FROM THIS SCUM!!

  • I want more felons to get those face tattoos & tattoos everywhere so they can me Identified like this POS. Their Covid diaper face masks didn’t work this time!
    Ha ha ha!😂

  • Small business owners are subject to higher insurance rates based on the crime rate in their area. If they don’t get this under control then businesses will be forced to raise prices or leave.

  • >