According to sources, four Hendry County men have been arrested in connection with an alleged auto theft ring that spanned multiple counties in Florida. The arrests followed a multi-agency investigation into thefts of Ford trucks beginning in Lee County in late 2014.
As detectives began their investigation into the Lee County thefts, they noted that a majority of the vehicles were being recovered in a neighborhood that also borders Glades and Hendry Counties. Near the site of each auto theft, detectives noted that a cluster of burglaries had also occurred. Detectives then checked with agencies from Hendry, Collier and Glades Counties, and upon comparing notes, they determined that the thefts had been occurring across jurisdictions.
Authorities then turned their attention to one man who reportedly had a history of similar types of activities. Upon developing probable cause, the 35-year-old man was arrested. Upon questioning, the man reportedly told investigators he had initially started committing the thefts in order to support his drug habit. He indicated that upon seeing news reports about the thefts, he continued them in an effort to taunt police. He is facing a total of around 60 felony charges in two different counties for his role. Along with the man, three others that police believe were involved were also arrested, and law enforcement authorities indicated they expect more arrests to follow shortly.
People who are accused of theft crimes may face charges ranging from the misdemeanor level to serious felony offenses, depending on what was allegedly stolen and its value. When people are accused of being involved in a theft ring, the penalties become more severe. Those who are accused of any crime may want to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney. An attorney may be able to identify defenses and mount a strategy best designed to minimize the penalties.
Source: FOX 4, “Four arrested in massive auto theft ring,” Sara Belsole, Feb. 10, 2015