Deadline Miami

Storm shutters stolen up and down Florida Keys

Aluminum storm shutters were targeted by thieves in two crimes reported from opposite ends of the Florida Keys last week.

Two Key Largo men were arrested Thursday after Monroe County sheriff's deputies found stolen shutters at their Newport Village residence.

Juan Cabrera, 20, and Rafael Sanchez, 25, were booked on felony counts of burglary and grand theft.

"Both men admitted taking the shutters, which they said they were going to sell in Miami as scrap metal," sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin said.

A woman told deputies she returned to her Ocean Front Drive home at 6:50 p.m. and saw two men on her property. After she confronted them, they drove off in a "faded-black truck with a red stripe on it." She called the Monroe Sheriff's Office to report the incident but had not noticed any theft.

Deputy Vaughn O'Keefe saw the black truck and followed it into Newport Village.

O'Keefe said the two men claimed they mistook the woman's house for a property where they were going to do work.

A short time later, the Ocean Front Drive owner discovered aluminum shutters were missing from an enclosed room "and others moved as if someone was getting ready to take them," Herrin said.

Officers returned to the Newport Village residence and found the 13 missing shutters. No value was listed.

Both defendants were taken to Monroe County Jail on $20,000 bond.

In a separate Key West case earlier in the week, a manager at the Best Western Key Ambassador Resort Inn reported to city police that 90 large aluminum shutters were taken from a fenced maintenance yard at the South Roosevelt Boulevard property.

The shutters, estimated to be worth $4,200, had been moved to the property because of a storm threat in mid-August. No arrests were made.