Thursday, June 12, 2008

Investigation Steers Deputies To Suspect In Loader Theft

A man who deputies say steered an East Naples equipment rental company wrong when he ordered a pricey piece of heavy machinery in 2007 and never returned it was arrested Thursday.

Brian Hamilton, 36, of Flora Home, Fla., was charged with grand theft.

Arrest reports gave this account:

Hamilton called The Equipment Source, 3727 Prospect Ave., around 5 p.m. on July 27, 2007, pretending to be a representative for a business called Phoenix & Associates. Hamilton said he needed to rent a skid steer loader and asked that it be delivered to a job site in North Naples ASAP so that he could finish a job over the weekend.

A 2007 Mustang model skid steer loader valued at $36,000 was dropped off at the job site with no one present. The following Monday, the loader was gone from the site.

A lengthy investigation by CCSO deputies found Hamilton rented a flatbed trailer, which he used to transport the loader to Louisiana to do side jobs for his concrete work. When he was through he sold the loader to a pool company in Baton Rouge for $23,000.

Deputies arrested Hamilton at the Collier County jail, where he was being held since May on unrelated charges, including driving on a suspended license.

Deputies recovered the loader, which was in good condition.