Monday, October 6, 2014

CCSO, NPD, Statewide Prosecutor Announce Home Invasion Arrests

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Naples Police Chief Tom Weschler, representing the Collier/Naples Regional Home Invasion Task Force, along with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution announced Monday that four men are being charged in connection with five high-end home-invasion robberies in Collier County and the City of Naples earlier this year.

The men charged are Andres Perez, 44; Johnathan Contreras, 27; Henry Adam “Ricky” Contreras, 48; and Frank Bower Jr., 54.

In addition, through the investigation, probable cause was developed to charge the men with a December 2013 home-invasion robbery in Immokalee and a March 2014 home-invasion robbery in Hendry County. One member of the group is also being charged with an August 2013 commercial robbery in Immokalee.

Perez, Bower, Johnathan Contreras and Ricky Contreras remain incarcerated in the Orange County Jail, where they were previously charged with an April 30 home-invasion robbery in Windermere and an attempted home invasion in Orlando on May 12. Bower, Perez and Johnathan Contreras were arrested at that attempted home invasion by Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies, who were acting on information from the Collier/Naples Regional Home Invasion Task Force. Ricky Contreras eluded arrest that night but was taken into custody by CCSO later that week in Immokalee.

Sheriff Rambosk and prosecutors also announced the arrest Monday of a fifth person. Jacob Gallegos, 36, of Immokalee. Gallegos is charged with dealing in stolen property in connection with the December home invasion in Immokalee.

Sheriff Rambosk credited the task force for its role in bringing the men to justice. Sheriff Rambosk directed the creation of the task force in the spring as similarities between home invasions emerged. The task force is made up of representatives of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Naples Police Department, Marco Island Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and FBI.

“The members of this task force worked tirelessly, they developed these individuals as suspects and they followed leads that led to the arrest of these men in Orange County in May,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “Today we are pleased to join the Office of Statewide Prosecution in letting our community know that these individuals now face charges for Collier County crimes as well.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi said her office will continue to partner with law enforcement to prosecute serious crimes such as home invasions. "Home invasions are some of the most terrifying and invasive crimes perpetrated against Floridians, and my Office of Statewide Prosecution will continue to work closely with law enforcement throughout Florida to stop these types of crimes," Attorney General Bondi said. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey recognized the task force and the multi-agency partnership that led to the arrests.
“These thieves targeted several of our communities, spanning multiple jurisdictions,” Commissioner Bailey said. “The arrests underline a solid law enforcement partnership. My thanks to the task force.”

Through the investigation, the task force determined that nine robberies were interrelated and committed by a criminal enterprise that included Perez, Bower, Johnathan Contreras and Ricky Contreras and that the group engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity from Dec. 10, 2013, through May 12, 2014.

The suspects operated during the evening hours targeting upscale homes where no forced entry was required. They were armed with guns, wore dark clothing and gloves and covered their heads with masks. They entered the homes, bound their victims, disabled cell and house phones and made off with jewelry and cash. In many of the incidents, they stole the victims’ vehicles to leave the communities.

Task force members linked the suspects to the crimes after conducting interviews and analyzing evidence, including cell phone data, bank records, pawn transaction receipts, jail phone calls, security video, and shoe impressions found at the scenes of some of the robberies. For example, the investigation found the suspects pawned numerous pieces of stolen jewelry and watches at a Miami pawn shop in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars. Google Earth searches of some of the communities where the robberies had taken place were also discovered on some of the suspects’ cell phones.

Together Perez, Bower, Johnathan Contreras and Ricky Contreras face 113 felony charges. The charges include: racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, home invasion robbery with a firearm, kidnapping with intent to commit a felony with a firearm and dealing in stolen property.

Following is a summary of the crimes with which they are being charged today:

• Aug. 8, 2013, commercial robbery, Fred’s Drive Thru, 110 N. First St., Immokalee: An armed suspect entered the store, held two victims at gunpoint, bound them and made off on foot with money from the cash register and the safe. Perez alone is charged with this crime.

• Dec. 10, 2013, home invasion, Hunter’s Point Road, Immokalee: Two armed men wearing black clothing, masks and gloves ambushed the victim in the driveway. They forced him into the house and bound him, then made him provide them with the combination to his safe. They opened the safe, ripped the victim’s house phone out of the wall and searched the house for additional valuables. They left in the victim’s vehicle with cash, jewelry, handguns and the victim’s cell phone. The victim’s empty vehicle was recovered a short distance away soon after the crime.

• Feb. 13, 2014, home invasion, White Boulevard, Golden Gate: Three to five armed men in dark clothing wearing masks and gloves entered an unlocked door and took six family members prisoner. Two of the victims were juveniles and one was elderly. The men forced the victims to retrieve valuables from around the house and then bound five of them, leaving the elderly victim unbound. The fled the home with cash and jewelry after disabling the victims’ cell phones.

• Feb. 19, 2014, home invasion, Golden Oaks Lane, Golden Gate: Two armed men in dark clothing wearing masks and gloves entered through an unlocked garage door. There was one victim in the home. The men demanded cash. At one point the victim tried to escape but he was beaten and bound. The men fled the home with jewelry.

• Feb. 24, 2014, home invasion, 17th Avenue South, City Of Naples: Two armed men in dark clothing wearing masks and gloves entered the home’s pool/patio area and confronted three victims, including one juvenile. They made the victims go inside the home, where two more victims, including another juvenile, were located. The men bound the victims and gathered jewelry, watches and cash. They then gathered car keys belonging to one of the victims and left in that victim’s vehicle. The empty vehicle was later recovered behind a nearby restaurant.

• March 4, 2014, home invasion, A Road, Labelle: Five armed men in dark clothing wearing masks and gloves approached one of the victims as she was retrieving something from her car. They put a gun to her head and forced her back into the house, where five more victims were located. The victims were bound and forced to direct the men to the valuables in the house. Once they had the cash and jewelry they disabled the victims’ cell phones and demanded car keys. They left in the victims’ vehicle. The empty vehicle was recovered a short time later.

• March 11, 2014, home invasion, Osprey Trail, City of Naples: Four armed men in dark clothing wearing masks and gloves entered through a rear patio door. There were two victims at home. They were bound and their cell phones were disabled. They forced one of the victims to tell them how to enter the safe. The men left with jewelry and cash in the victims’ car. The empty car was later recovered nearby.

• April 3, 2014, home invasion, Groveland Terrace, Golden Gate: Three armed men in dark clothing wearing masks and gloves ambushed a victim as he was taking out his trash. They took him prisoner and forced him back into the house, where four more victims were located. The victims were bound, their cell phones were disabled. Two of the victims were forced to help the men gather up cash and jewelry. The men told the victims they planned to leave in their car; however they ended up fleeing on foot.

• April 30, 2014, home invasion, Lake Butler Boulevard, Windermere: Three armed men in dark clothing wearing masks and gloves entered and bound the two victims inside. One of the victims was forced to open the safe. The men disabled the victims’ cell phones and left in a car belonging to one of the victims. They took cash and jewelry with them.

• May 12, 2014, attempted home invasion, Kilgore Road, Orlando: Members of the Collier/Naples Regional Home Invasion Task Force determined that suspects Perez and Ricky Contreras were heading toward Orlando from Immokalee. Task force members, agents with FDLE and members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office conducted surveillance and monitored the suspects’ movements. Eventually Perez and Ricky Contreras were joined by Frank Bower and Johnathan Contreras. When law enforcement officers involved in the surveillance saw three of the subjects exit a vehicle quickly and run into a brush line on Kilgore Road, they rushed in. Perez, Johnathan Contreras and Bower were apprehended that night. Johnathan Contreras and Bower were dressed in all black clothing, gloves and masks. Perez was also dressed all in black and in possession of a mask. They were carrying backpacks that contained zip ties, duct tape and handguns. Johnathan Contreras had wire cutters in his possession. Ricky Contreras was apprehended by CCSO deputies later that week in Immokalee

Click here to read the arrest affidavit