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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 8/24/2011 

 "Clumsy Beer Thief" Suspect Arrested In Lake Wales 

On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, Polk County Sheriff's deputies arrested the suspect known as the "clumsy beer thief" who tripped and fell on his baggy pants when he attempted to steal beer from a convenience store, and charged him with one count of Petit Theft. The suspect was positively identified via the suspect vehicle seen in the surveillance video from the store.

On August 16, 2011, SE patrol deputy sheriff Bobby Abbatoy, while enroute to a call for service, spotted a black Chevrolet Malibu in the Lake Wales area, which is the same make and model vehicle as the suspect vehicle wanted in a beer theft that occurred on April 27, 2011, at the E-Z Food Store (15 Acuff Road in Lake Wales). Deputy Abbatoy wrote down the vehicle tag number and gave it to the detectives assigned to the beer theft case.

According to the affidavits, the detectives located the owner of the Chevy Malibu and interviewed her on August 18, 2011. The owner identified the two suspects involved in the beer theft as Angel Miguel Ortiz, DOB 11/18/1988, of 430 Winston Avenue in Lake Wales, and Juan Luis Gutierrez, DOB 11/1/1983, of 2986 Spring Lake Road in Lake Wales. The vehicle owner told detectives she loaned her car to the two men so they could "go and get some beer." When they returned without the beer, Ortiz told her that Gutierrez fell down and "lost" the beer.

On April 29, 2011, the detective assigned to the case asked the PCSO Office of Communications to send out a Crime Stoppers bulletin to the media, including the surveillance video showing the suspect running out of the store with two 18-packs of Bud Light, and then tripping on his baggy pants and falling, dropping the beer. The suspect jumps into a waiting black Chevy Mailbu and flees the scene. That video can be seen on the PCSO Youtube page and the PCSO Facebook page.

Ortiz, who was sitting in the suspect vehicle during the theft, was located by detectives on August 18, 2011, and booked into the Polk County Jail on one count Petit Theft. He bonded out on August 19, 2011. 

Gutierrez, who admitted to detectives to stealing the beer and then running out of the store, tripping, and falling, was located by detectives on August 24, 2011, and booked into the Polk County Jail on one count Petit Theft.

Both suspects have been in the Polk County Jail on several prior occasions.