A Hialeah man and a Miami man, were arrested in the Upper Keys after being “caught in the act” of stealing marine electronics, according to the Monroe Sheriff's Office.
The marine theft task force — made up of the sheriff’s office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol, Homeland Security, the State Attorney's Office and Customs and Border Protection with an assist from Key West Police — have been investigating boat electronic gear thefts for months.
On Thursday, a deputy spotted a suspicious Ford Escape in the Burton Memorial Church parking lot in Tavernier at 11 p.m. The church is across from Unique Marine, a large boat sales and service business.
Inside the SUV was Yosvany Izquierdo Marquez, 23, of Miami. Marquez had a history of arrests for burglaries and thefts, according to the sheriff’s office.
Meanwhile, another deputy jumped the fence at Unique Marine to check on the boats stored inside for missing parts. The deputy came face to face with a man, later identified as Roberto Morales Diaz, 38, of Hialeah. Diaz, wearing dark clothing, a dark baseball cap and gloves, took off running. The deputy tried to chase him to no avail and instead found a large hole cut in a chain link fence. A tool kit and a pile of GPS and radar units were on the ground near the hole, the sheriff’s office said.
A deputy on the 18-mile stretch spotted Diaz, who was in a white Altima, and followed him to Florida City. Diaz, who had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a May 29 boat burglary at Shelter Bay Marina in Marathon, was arrested. Diaz was also charged with eight counts of burglary, eight counts of theft, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and resisting arrest.
Marquez was arrested and charged with loitering and being a principal to the crime of burglary after he told detectives he had given Diaz a ride to the Keys.
“We believe these suspects have been instrumental in a significant number of the electronics thefts that have taken place in the county,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We will continue to work on these investigations and hope to bring more charges and make more arrests.”