North Miami Beach police on Wednesday said they arrested a man detectives say was responsible for vandalizing nine Humane Society of Greater Miami vans earlier this month and stealing seven batteries.
Police said Edwin Angel Morales broke into the vans parked outside the Humane Society at 16101 W. Dixie Hwy. sometime early on Aug. 5.
The reason he stole the batteries, according to police: To make money to pay bills.
“The defendant...stated that he needed to pay bills so he took the batteries so he could resell them,” an officer wrote in Morales’ arrest report.
An anonymous tip and fingerprints on the vans’ hoods led police to Morales, who was already in jail on charges of stealing batteries from cars near his Miami home. Morales, who has a lengthy criminal history including arrests for narcotics, panhandling and burglary, was being held in jail Wednesday on a $52,000 bond.
Laurie Hoffman, director of the Humane Society said news of the arrest was “exciting.”
“We are super appreciative of the diligence of the detectives,” she said.
The day after the break-in, Hoffman asked the community for help, saying losing the use of the organization’s vans was devastating.
Companies including AAA Auto Service, Interstate Batteries, Dolphin Towing and Florida Video and Security helped out and the vans were running within days.
Hoffman said an “arrest certainly doesn’t make up for what he did,” but she hopes he won’t do it again.
”I hope he learns something from this experience,” she said.