Police have detained a 19-year-old man who they believe to be responsible for multiple thefts of pickup trucks throughout southwest Florida in the recent months. After police found two of the stolen trucks in the parking lot of an apartment complex, an undercover officer waited to see if someone would return to them. According to reports, the man did come back and allegedly got out of his vehicle wearing white gloves. The officer then claimed he saw the man going inside one of the stolen trucks.
Police say that they have both latent prints and DNA and that their crime scene bureau is currently working to find out whether the same man was involved in similar cases. Particular targets have been older model Ford F-350s and F-250s that investigators say are easily broken into. They are apparenty stripped for parts and then sold.
Deputies in Collier County have been working on the case for three months. At least a dozen vehicles have been reported stolen in the area. Police are calling the new development a breakthrough in the theft case.
If the man consults with an attorney, a number of defense approaches may be available depending on the circumstances and the evidence. For example, the attorney might argue about the way the DNA samples and fingerprints were gathered. Even if the man is linked with two of the thefts, the attorney might raise doubts about his involvement in others. This could reduce the severity of penalties he could face. Another option could be plea bargaining in which the man admits guilt in some of the cases but not others.
Source: ABC 7, “Golden Gate arrestee tied to string of SW Florida truck thefts“, June 20, 2014