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Recently released sex offender accused of ditching GPS in lake

Hernando Today Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:35 PM

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A convicted sex offender went before a judge earlier this month and asked him to remove the GPS ankle bracelet he was required to wear as part of his probation.

The judge denied the motion. Deputies said the defendant took matters into his own hands.

Robert Sanchez, 20, of Brooksville, is suspected of removing the device and throwing it into a lake.

The same defendant was convicted in February 2011 on a count of lewd and lascivious battery against a child and sentenced to two years in prison. Taking into account time he had served prior to his sentencing, Sanchez served less than 18 months.

On Oct. 3, he asked the judge to soften or eliminate several of his probation requirements in addition to the ankle monitor. He asked to have his evening curfew extended beyond 10 p.m. and to be discharged from sex offender therapy.

Circuit Judge Daniel Merritt Sr. denied those requests.

"I absolutely objected to the modification of his probation," said Assistant State Attorney Erin Daly. "It's important for the sake of public safety that he wears the GPS device and goes to sex offender therapy."

Merritt did grant his request to waive his probation and GPS fees for six months until he had time to find a job, according to court records.

Now Sanchez is back in jail and facing additional charges. His original conviction carried a maximum of 15 years and he could be facing that if convicted of violation of probation, Daly said.

The victim in his case was a girl younger than 15 years old, according to reports.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office was contacted by state probation officers and deputies canvassed the neighborhood this morning in the area west of WPA Road near Brooksville, said sheriff's spokeswoman Denise Moloney.

Deputies received information from residents in the area that Sanchez was seen at 7630 Gordon Loop. They knocked on the door and spoke to a 15-year-old juvenile, who told them Sanchez was not there, according to the sheriff's office.

While the 15-year-old was talking to the sheriff's office at his front door, a deputy saw Sanchez try to sneak out through the back, authorities said.

Sanchez ran back inside and the juvenile continued to lie about Sanchez being in the home, according to reports.

The house was surrounded and the agency's K-9 unit was called.

As the sheriff's office awaited the arrival of the K-9, Sanchez surrendered, deputies said.

The juvenile, whose name was not released by the sheriff's office, also was charged with a count of harboring a sex offender.

Moloney said the reports didn't indicate specifically where the GPS was dumped, but the house at Gordon Loop is within walking distance of the southeast corner of Bystre Lake.

Sanchez was booked shortly before noon at the Hernando County Jail. He was held without bond. (352) 544-5283

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