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 April 14th, 2008  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara announces arrest of recycling company manager for dealing in stolen property
St. Lucie County Sheriff’s detectives late this morning arrested the manager of a Fort Pierce scrap metal business for dealing in stolen property, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

“Nicolaas VanVliet, 32, is charged with the second-degree felony of dealing in stolen property,” said Sheriff Mascara. “He was released this afternoon from the St. Lucie County jail after posting $5,000 bond.”

VanVliet is the manager of Atlantic Coast Recycling, 3301 Avenue D, Fort Pierce, where he was arrested this morning.

“Unfortunately, with tough economic times locally and all over this country, people are stealing things and taking them to salvage companies to sell for a fraction of their value,” Sheriff Mascara said. “The law says if someone knows or should have known that the property they are dealing in is stolen, that person is committing a serious crime. Tough economic times are no excuse for breaking the law.”

Last week, Alexander Gunite had reported to the Martin County Sheriff's Office that someone had stolen a 354-pound, undamaged tailgate from his business. He had called metal salvage businesses in the area and asked that anyone receiving the tailgate call 9-1-1. He learned that VanVliet’s business had received the tailgate, and when VanVliet refused to report this to authorities, Gunite did so.

St. Lucie County Sheriff’s detectives went to Atlantic Coast Recycling last week, discovered the stolen tailgate and requested an arrest warrant. After prosecutors of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office approved the warrant application, Circuit Court Judge Larry Schack signed an arrest warrant, which detectives served today.

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