April 18, 2014

Two arrested in connection with rod and reel thefts

A Big Pine Key man and a Cudjoe Key man have been arrested in connection with recent rod and reel thefts in the Lower Keys.

On April 13th at 6 a.m., deputies were called to a home on Cudjoe Key. 33 year old John Farley said he’d just seen someone take rods and reels from underneath his home on Cutlass Drive. He gave dispatchers a description of the car the man fled in, along with a license tag number. Just minutes later, the car was stopped by Deputy Linda Kohout. The driver was identified as 32 year old Joshua Causey. In the car, deputies found 11 rod and reel combinations, along with a radio controlled boat motor.

Farley identified Causey as the man he saw stealing his rods and reels. He identified six of the rods and reels as his along with the boat motor. The property was returned to him. He said he did not want to press charges against Causey. The other items in the car were taken by the deputies for further investigation. At the time of the traffic stop, Causey told deputies he and Farley were friends. He said he’d been at Farley’s house and they’d argued. He said Farley told him to take the fishing equipment and to leave. He said Farley must have called the Sheriff’s Office after he left. Due to conflicting stories, Causey was not arrested and the case was assigned to detectives.

The case began to get more complicated after three more reports of rod and reel thefts came in over the next two days. A man on Big Coppitt Key, a man on Summerland Key and a man on Sugarloaf Key all reported their fishing equipment stolen; two of  from storage areas under their residences and one  from a porch area where they had been propped up to dry. Detectives from the Lower Keys Criminal Investigative Unit were assigned to all the cases and began to unravel the details.

Some of the rods and reels reported stolen from the other residences turned out to be the ones seized in the traffic stop. Some of the stolen rods and reels turned out to be ones returned to Farley after he identified them as his. Some of the stolen rods and reels turned up at Farley’s house when detectives went to talk to him as they investigated.

Both men were arrested Thursday. Causey was charged with two counts of grand theft in connection with the crimes in Summerland Key and Sugarloaf Key. Farley was charged with two counts of grand theft in connection with the crimes on Big Coppitt Key and on Sugarloaf Key. Investigations are continuing.

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