Monroe County – Sheriff’s deputies and detectives arrested three men, charging them with stealing numerous bales of cardboard from the Publix and K-Mart stores in Marathon.
The stores have reported the thefts several times over the past few months. Deputies in Marathon have stepped up their patrols of the areas behind the stores, where the bales are usually placed for pickup. On March 13th, Sgt. Mark Maison and Deputy Jean Gonzalez checked the area at 9:20 p.m. and saw several bales present. At 3:30 a.m. on March 14th they checked again and the bales were gone.
Over the course of the investigation, detectives had received information indicating the suspects were driving a white Ford F250 truck. The truck they believed the suspects were using had been seen parked at the 102.9 mile marker of the highway. Sgt. Maison put out a notice to be on the lookout for the truck on the highway. He also asked Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe, who works in that area, to check the 102.9 mile marker for the truck and the cardboard bales.
Deputy O’Keefe found the truck with a trailer attached. In the trailer were bales of cardboard from Publix. Under a tarp behind the trailer were more bales, clearly marked as belonging to K-Mart.
Surveillance of the area was conducted to catch the suspects responsible for the truck and the cardboard thefts. At 9:15 p.m., three men were seen loading more cardboard bales into the trailer. Detective Nicholas Whiteman responded to the Roth Building to question the men. They all said they thought the bales had been placed behind the stores as garbage and thought it was all right for them to pick them up. They also admitted to never asking permission from the store managers to take the bales. Numerous receipts from recycling centers where they sold the cardboard were found in the truck.
23 year old Hector Olivia Jimenez, 20 year old Lazaro Casanas Fernandez and 27 year old Lidiert Casanas Fernandez were all charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property.