Deputies were called to Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada just before 7 a.m. A witness at the marina called the Sheriff’s Office after a confrontation with three people over stolen fishing equipment.
The witness – a charter boat captain at the marina – said he was getting his boat ready for a charter when he noticed he was missing a bait cooler and a couple of rods and reels. He said two other people on nearby boats also said they were missing gear.
He said he noticed three men at the marina he didn’t recognize who were on an outer dock feeding Tarpon. He said it is unusual for anyone to be at the marina at that hour, so he became suspicious. He and the other theft victims went to the parking lot and saw a green Toyota 4-Runner parked there. Inside the vehicle, through open windows, he saw all the stolen rods and reels and his bait cooler. He took a picture of the truck’s license tag and the stolen items inside.
At that point, the three men who’d been feeding Tarpon walked up and confronted the victims. The victims told the men to return their stolen items but the men refused, got in their truck and drove away. The victims then called the Sheriff’s Office.
A notice to be on the lookout for the truck was issued over police radios and the vehicle was stopped at the 86 mile marker by Sgt. Eric Mixon and Deputies Nelson Sanchez and Todd Wyatt. The three men inside were identified by the first witness as the men he had a confrontation with at the marina. Inside the vehicle was the stolen property. Deputies also found burglary tools inside the vehicle, including bolt cutters, screw drivers, two head lamps, two flashlights and a face covering.
18 year old Hector Torres, 18 year old Alfredo Melian Casanova and 18 year old Kristofer LLuis were arrested. During subsequent interviews by detectives, they admitted to committing multiple burglaries and thefts between January and April from various locations in middle and upper Florida Keys. They said the property they stole was subsequently sold at the Homestead Flea Market.
All three were booked into jail on multiple counts of burglary, grand theft and possession of burglary tools. The vehicle was seized for possible forfeiture. The investigation is continuing and more charges are expected.