Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Miami Man Charged In 6 Lawn Equipment Thefts In Collier, Naples

A Miami man faces multiple felony charges in connection with six recent lawn equipment thefts in Collier County and the city of Naples.
Landy Espada Gonzalez, 25, is charged with multiple counts of burglary and grand theft.

According to reports:  Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to 545 Tierra Mar Lane, North Naples, on Tuesday afternoon to investigate the theft of equipment from a commercial lawn maintenance truck.  Witnesses said a man entered the vehicle and removed a blower valued at $400.  The man then put the blower into a white Lexus and drove away in that vehicle. A witness obtained the Lexus’ license tag number and called deputies.

A BOLO was issued to area law enforcement agencies. An officer with the Naples Police Department spotted the vehicle a short time later in an area of the city that has previously been targeted for lawn equipment thefts. The NPD officer stopped the vehicle near the intersection of Banyan Boulevard and Banyan Circle.

After taking Gonzalez into custody, officers could see several blowers and edgers, along with a chain saw and a hedge trimmer, in plain sight inside the car.

Ultimately, Gonzalez was charged in connection four lawn equipment thefts in the county and two in the city of Naples.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Naples Police Department urge lawn care businesses to heighten their security to help fight a continuing trend of burglaries targeting these establishments.

These thefts occur mostly overnight and over the weekend. In many cases, the locks on utility trailers are cut in order for subjects to enter and remove the equipment stored inside. Thieves are also committing these crimes during the daytime while employees are distracted doing lawn maintenance.

CCSO offers the following tips to help deter criminals:

-Install/use additional lighting
-Reinforce all surrounding fences and gates
-Lock and secure all trailers including backing them up to a building to prevent entry
-Use monitored and audible security systems
-Install/use video surveillance

It is also helpful to keep an up-to-date inventory of all property including makes/brand names, models, and serial numbers. With good record keeping, deputies can properly document the stolen equipment.

Anyone with information about these burglaries can contact CCSO at 239.252.9300 or, if you wish to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.780.TIPS (8477).

For additional information on how to protect your business, contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Section at 239.252.0700.