Man wearing life preservers burglarizes two bed and breakfasts in downtown Gainesville


Titus Smoaks, 48, was arrested yesterday afternoon after a theft was reported at one bed and breakfast, followed by a report the next day from an employee at a nearby bed and breakfast that someone had entered a room she was cleaning.

The owner of the Camellia Rose Inn, located at 205 SE 7th Street, reported to Gainesville Police Department (GPD) that he arrived at his office at 6:00 p.m. on April 3 to find that his Macbook Pro laptop (valued at $3000) had been stolen. Surveillance video showed a heavyset black male arriving at the inn on foot at about 2:30 p.m., wearing two life preservers, a red bandanna, and athletic gloves. The man walked around the exterior until he found an unlocked door and entered the inn, which was unoccupied at the time. He remained inside for about 45 minutes until a car pulled into the parking lot, then he left, carrying a plastic bag that appeared to contain a laptop.

The next day, an employee of Magnolia Plantation Bed and Breakfast at 309 SE 7th Street was cleaning a room and left it unlocked for a short time. When she returned, she noticed that things were not the way she’d left them; for example, the blinds were closed. She also heard footsteps in the room, so she immediately left and locked the door.

When GPD arrived, they set up a perimeter around the bed and breakfast with a K-9 unit. They made announcements asking the man to come out, and Smoaks came out, wearing a black mask, white gloves, and a bandanna. He also had two life preservers, and the bandanna and gloves matched the description provided the previous day. When police searched the room, they found wet towels on the floor and a wet shower, indicating that Smoaks may have taken a shower.

Smoaks was found incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness in multiple cases from 2019 to 2021. In July of 2021, Judge Walter Green found that he was incompetent to stand trial but did not meet the criteria for commitment to a treatment facility. Instead, he was released to outpatient care with a long list of requirements, including weekly “competency trainings with his Forensic Specialist.” He was most recently arrested on February 26, 2022, on a charge of stealing a stereo from a car and then later returning it. He was released on his own recognizance to the supervision of Court Services.

Smoaks is being held on a combined bail of $45,000 in the two cases. He was originally held on $10,000 bail in the February 26 case but was eventually released on his own recognizance with a promise “to maintain contact with Counsel, to abide by all orders of the Court, and to attend all required court appearances.”

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.