St. Lucie County Sheriffs' deputies arrest of three fitness center car burglars could lead Treasure Coast law agencies to solve 15 or more case, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara
Good old fashioned police work paid off Monday when a St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputy staking out a fitness center parking lot for car burglars arrested three South Florida men, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.
"We now believe that this trio of thieves may have committed as many as 15 or more car burglaries at fitness centers in three Treasure Coast counties," Sheriff Mascara said. "Seven of the crimes were in St. Lucie County; six were in Indian River County, and one was in Stuart."
Sheriff Mascara said it's important for people not to leave valuables such as wallets and purses on car seats where burglars can see them, quickly punch out a car window and grab the valuables.
"Most fitness centers have lockers where you can store your valuables," Sheriff Mascara said. "Let's not make it easy for burglars to steal them. If you're not going to store your valuables in a locker, then before you leave for the fitness center, lock your valuables in your trunk."
Monday, a St. Lucie County deputy in an unmarked car was watching the parking lot at Planet Fitness, 6666 South U.S.1 where eight car burglaries had taken place dating back to Nov. 11, Sheriff Mascara said. The deputy saw three men in a rented Nissan sedan drive three times around the parking lot and park near the front entrance to Planet Fitness. One of the men got out and crouched next to a parked car.
Deputies closed in and arrested the three: Willie E. Williams, 21 (DOB 3/2/1992), of Miami; Marquell Shellman, 25 (DOB 8/3/1987), of Miami; and Derrick L. Mangham, 29 (DOB 9/16/1984) of Fort Lauderdale. Deputies could smell the odor or marijuana, and drugs were in the car.
Williams, Shellman and Mangham were identified as having used stolen credit cards to make purchases at local stores.
Williams and Mangham were charged with two counts of car burglary, grand theft, petty theft, two counts of using another person's identification, possession of burglar tools with intent to use them, loitering or prowling and possession of not more than 20 grams of marijuana.
Shellman was charged with possession of burglar tools with intent to use them, habitual offender driving with a suspended license, loitering or prowling and possession of not more than 20 grams of marijuana.
All three are confined at the St. Lucie County jail. Williams' bond is $141,125. Mangham's is $150,000. Showmen's is $55,000.
St. Lucie County Sheriff's detectives believe they could clear as many as seven or more car burglaries.
Indian River County Sheriff's detectives are investigating the trio in connection with at least six car burglaries.
Port St. Lucie Police detectives are investigating at least one burglary that may have been committed by the three.
Stuart Police detectives are looking into at least one car burglary in connection with the three.
Additional charges are pending as the law agencies continue their investigations.
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