A Miami man was arrested Tuesday evening after breaking into a house in Ocean Reef, taking a nap in the air-conditioning and stealing cash before trying to swim away twice, sheriff’s deputies said.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said the man, later identified as Michael Brandt, 22, was first seen on a bike in the tony resort neighborhood in North Key Largo around 6 p.m. When a public safety officer stopped him and asked if he lived there, the man fled on his bike after telling the officer to mind his own business, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
Someone then contacted sheriff’s deputies to say a man fitting the bicyclist’s description was trying to flag down cars south of the Ocean Reef gate. When a neighborhood officer showed up, the man – then riding his bike down Card Sound Road – ignored the officer’s order to stop and jumped into the water to escape.
Around that time, Kyle Page, a deputy in the sheriff’s office, received a report of a burglary at 11 Exuma Road in Ocean Reef, where a money clip with cash had been stolen. Deputies also received word that Brandt, a day worker at the resort, had disappeared from his job site and that his description matched that of the bicyclist.
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Page went to the spot where Brandt had jumped into the water to flee and told him he wanted to talk to him. Brandt ran back into the water and swam away.
As deputies continued searching for Brandt, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer en route found Brandt standing on the road and took him into custody.
When questioned, Brandt said he entered the home on Exuma Road, took a nap in the air conditioning and stole money from the house, according to the Sheriff’s Office statement. When he woke up and heard people in the house, he fled, the statement said.
Brandt was charged with burglary, grand theft, criminal mischief and resisting arrest. He was also charged on one out-of-county warrant, according to county sheriff’s records, and booked into jail. The Sheriff’s Office did not indicate what the warrant was for.