Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County investigators solve rash of air conditioner thefts
The March 23 arrest of two St. Lucie Fort Pierce men has enabled investigators from the Fort Pierce Police Department and St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office to solve 20 thefts of air conditioning units. Eleven of the units were stolen in the City of Fort Pierce, and nine were taken in unincorporated St. Lucie County.
Michael Armand Delorme, 33 (DOB 2/8/78), of 930 Skylark Drive, Fort Pierce, and Alan Kenneth Camp, 33 (DOB 1/13/78), of 5014 Star Ave., Fort Pierce, are confined at the St. Lucie County jail. Camp's total bond is $70,000 on charges of grand theft and dealing-in-stolen-property. Delorme's bond is $110,000 for charges of theft, burglary, loitering and prowling, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.
"The theft of air conditioning units for sale as scrap metal has been a troublesome problem in our area and around the nation," said Fort Pierce Police Chief R. Sean Baldwin. "These arrests shut down a local theft ring and show how law enforcement agencies are working cooperatively to protect our community."
"I appreciate the close working relationship I and the members of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office have with Chief Baldwin and the officers of the Fort Pierce Police Department," Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said. "This is just the latest example of law enforcement teamwork by our two agencies."
The case began in the early-morning hours of March 23 when federal agents in Fort Pierce saw two men in a silver Ford van circling the area several times. The two men in the van disappeared behind an apartment complex, returned later and stole four air conditioning units, then put them in their van.
The agents followed the van and stopped it at A.E. Backus Drive and Indian River Drive. They turned the suspects over to the Fort Pierce Police Department. Delorme and Camp admitted stealing air conditioning units and began confessing to a series of similar thefts going back several weeks.
The two said they stole air conditioning units at night, stripped them of metal parts and then sold the parts for scrap at area recycling centers.
When Fort Pierce Police investigators realized that some of the victims' locations were in unincorporated St. Lucie County, they notified the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office. A Sheriff's Detective interviewed the suspects which led to arrests in nine thefts of air conditioning units from unincorporated St. Lucie County.
Sheriff's detectives and Fort Pierce Police detectives believe some of the thieves' targets were abandoned, foreclosed or repossessed properties for which detectives anticipate more charges once they've notified victims and obtained additional details.
Both agencies are continuing their investigations.
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