Deputies say the arrest of a Golden Gate man on grand theft auto charges Thursday may be the break they need in solving a recent string of thefts of Ford F-250/F-350 pickups around Southwest Florida.
19-year old Emmanuel B. Hernandez was arrested Thursday for the alleged thefts.
Over the past three months about a dozen older model Ford F-250/F-350 have been stolen in Collier County.
According to Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrest reports, deputies were investigating a report of the theft of a 2005 red F-250 pickup from the parking lot of Whistlers Green Apartments in Golden Gate early Thursday.
Officers witnessed Hernandez exiting a white Crown Victoria wearing white gloves and then enter the stolen red F-250 where the suspect proceeded to search for something before leaving again in the Crown Victoria.
Deputies were able to locate a stolen F-250 parked at the Noah’s Landing Apartments in Gold Gate and also located a blue 2002 F-350 parked nearby that had also been recently reported stolen.
Hernandez was arrested when deputies conducted a nearby traffic stop and was taken into custody on two counts of grand theft auto and driving on a suspended license.
While in custody Hernandez made references linking him to both stole vehicles.
Deputies are also looking at other thefts in the surrounding area which had overlapping similarities and may be possibly linked to Hernandez as well.
Image source: CCSO