Key Largo – A Key Largo man is under arrest, charged with burglarizing five vehicles early today in the parking lot of the Marine Mammal Institute in Key Largo. He also committed two other thefts at that location, and charges are pending in six more burglaries throughout Key Largo over the weekend.
Deputy Robert Dosh was on patrol near the Institute at the 102 mile marker at 5:30 a.m. today when he spotted 42 year old Keith Paquet driving away in his car with no seatbelt on. He pulled him over and obtained all his identification and other necessary paperwork. Paquet told him he was a volunteer at the Institute and was going to the Circle K store to get coffee for everyone working there. Deputy Dosh noticed a backpack sitting on the seat next to Paquet, and noticed Paquet seemed very nervous and was sweating profusely.
About 20 minutes after Paquet was allowed to leave the traffic stop, Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call from the Institute. An employee reported her car had been entered and her backpack had been stolen. Subsequent investigation revealed several other employee’s cars had also been burglarized. A woman’s bag had been stolen from the dock area of the Institute and cash and T-shirts had been taken from a sales stand as well.
Dosh remembered seeing a backpack in Paquet’s vehicle. He had Paquet’s contact information from the traffic stop so he went to Paquet’s house on Lee Street in Key Largo. During an interview with him, Paquet admitted to the burglaries and thefts; he signed a consent to search his house and almost all the items reported stolen were found inside. He also admitted to discarding some items in a trash receptacle at the Circle K Store at the 102 mile marker; he said he did it because he got frightened after the traffic stop. Those items were also recovered.
So far, Paquet has been charged with five counts of vehicle burglary and seven counts of theft related to these crimes. Some of the items recovered from Paquet’s home matched items stolen during other burglaries in the Key Largo area over the weekend. Detectives are continuing their investigations and expect to charge him with more crimes soon.
Detectives investigated Paquet’s claim of being a volunteer at the Institute; Paquet was not a volunteer there. He did previously work as a security guard at Dolphin’s Plus, which is affiliated with the Institute, but was fired from that position recently after he was arrested for stealing several items from the store, including water bottles and a towel.