During a five-day investigation beginning on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, through Saturday, October 1, 2016, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives conducted an undercover operation targeting retail crime. A total of 28 suspects were arrested for retail theft. Detectives also conducted warrant checks in reference to outstanding theft warrants throughout Polk County - as a result, 10 other suspects were arrested.
Of those suspects arrested:
7 received monthly public assistance
20 had prior arrest histories with a total of 245 prior arrests including:
230 previous misdemeanor charges
131 previous felony charges
4 of the suspects arrested have been to state prison
8 were juveniles
9 Suspects had money in their possession at the time of their arrest
Arrest by Location
· 18 Arrest at Wal-Mart
· 7 Arrest at Target
· 2 Arrest at Victoria’s Secret
· 2 Arrest at Bealls
· 9 Warrant Arrest made at various locations throughout the county
1 Firearm Seized
“Our message is simple: if it’s not yours, don’t take it. Don’t steal in Polk County. Retail theft is a big problem in Florida costing retailers and consumers millions of dollars.” –Sheriff Grady Judd
Working cooperatively with loss prevention staff at 13 retail businesses located throughout the county, PCSO detectives, acting in an undercover capacity observed suspects remove and conceal merchandise in an attempt to avoid payment.
The partnering retail locations were:
· Sunglass Hut
· Victoria’s Secret
· Home Depot
· Old Navy
· JC Penney
“According to the National Retail Federation, a survey conducted by the University of Florida found that retailers suffered a $45.2 billion loss in inventory as a result of retail theft in 2015,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “And the honest consumer is the one who must pay the rising cost of goods as a result of this criminal activity.”
In one incident on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 38-year-old Nakisha Mann and 38-year-old Terrence Dunbar, both of Tampa, entered the Victoria Secret store at Lakeside Village in Lakeland and attempted to conceal 35 pairs of undergarments valued at approximately $691.31. Both were arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail. Nakisha Mann has 44 Prior Arrest / 31 Prior Felony Charges / 25 Prior Misdemeanor Charges.
In a second incident on Thursday, September 29, 2016, three female juveniles who were in Wal-Mart, located on Cypress Gardens, were observed removing make-up from the counter and concealing it in a purse – the total amount of products removed was $250.
On Friday, September 30, 2016, Anneece J. Carter of Lakeland was seen concealing items while she was in Target located in north Lakeland. Carter was seen discarding some stolen items before exiting the store, but when approached outside of the business, Carter began to throw other items throughout the parking lot. Upon her arrest Carter was asked why she took the items without paying for them. She replied “because I’m good at it.” Carter told detectives she works as a licensed security guard.
During a second incident on Friday, Brittany Mixon of Spring Hill was seen concealing merchandise inside her purse while at Wal-Mart in north Lakeland. During a search incident to arrest, detectives discovered Nixon was illegally carrying a concealed firearm inside her purse.
A complete list of suspects arrested for Retail Theft appears below:
22-year-old Antonio Arias, Baker Dairy Road, Hines City - Charged with Retail Theft
38-year-old Juan Rafael Rojas, Otto Polk Road, Frostproof – Charged with outstanding warrants (Neglect Family non-payment). Rojas has two previous arrests which include 2 misdemeanor charges.
17-year-old male juvenile – charged with Retail Theft
23-year-old Alma Vela-Mendez, Bailey Road, Mulberry – Charged with Retail Theft
18-year-old Lesly Vela-Mendez, Bailey Road, Mulberry – Charged with Retail Theft
17-year-old female juvenile – charged with Retail Theft. This juvenile has 4 previous arrests which include 4 misdemeanor charges.
38-year-old Nakisha Mann, Thomas Circle, Tampa – Charged with Grand Theft. Mann has 56 previous arrests which include 31 felony charges and 25 misdemeanor charges.
38-year-old Terrence Dunbar, N 50th Street, Tampa – Charged with Grand Theft. Dunbar has 38 previous arrests which include 24 felony charges and 14 misdemeanor charges. Dunbar has been in state prison twice.
16-year-old male juvenile – Charged with Retail Theft
51-year-old Amu Rickerson, Parker Road, Lakeland – Charged with Felony Petit Theft. Rickerson has 7 previous arrests which include 6 felony and 6 misdemeanor charges.
30-year-old Giezi Corrales, Vistoria Park Drive, Davenport – Charged with Petit Theft 2nd Offense and Possession of Burglary Tools. Corrales has 9 previous arrests which include 9 felony charges and 12 misdemeanor charges.
26-year-old Mellissa Passanisi, Trinity Street, Oceanside New York – Charged with Petit Theft 2nd Offense, and Possession of Burglary Tools. Passanisi has 1 previous arrest which included 3 misdemeanor charges.
66-year-old Fredrick Bennink, Idaho Avenue, Lakeland – Charged with Retail Theft, and Dealing in Stolen Property. Bennink has 39 previous arrests which include 12 felony charges and 45 Misdemeanor charges.
31-year-old Isabel Villanueva Crevasse Street, Lakeland – Charged with Retail Theft. Villanueva has 8 previous arrests which include 2 felony charges and 6 misdemeanor charges.
19-year-old Thomas Eakins, Avon Street, Lake Wales – Charged with Retail Theft.
19-year-old Hunter Harrison, Illinois Avenue, Babson Park – Charged with Retail Theft
16-year-old female juvenile – Charged with Retail Theft
17-year-old female juvenile – Charged with Retail Theft
15-year-old female juvenile – Charged with Retail Theft
55-year-old Cynthia Neace, Robson Street, Lakeland – Charged with VOP and Felony Petit Theft. Neace has 20 previous arrests which include 12 felony charges and 15 misdemeanor charges.
27-year-old Justin Fudge, Deeson Road, Lakeland – Charged with Retail Theft, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Fudge has 1 previous arrest which includes 5 misdemeanor charges.
23-year-old Tommy Nguyen, W. Main Street, Wachula –Charged with Retail Theft
18-year-old Kyra Rivera, W. Main Street, Wachula – Charged with Retail Theft
15-year-old male juvenile – Charged with Retail Theft and Warrant for Contempt of Court. This juvenile has one previous misdemeanor arrest.
29-year-old Brittany Mixon, Fentress Court, Spring Hill – Charged with Retail Theft and Carrying Concealed Firearm. Mixon has 2 previous misdemeanor charges.
24-year-old Anneece Carter, W. 10th Street, Lakeland – Charged with Retail theft.
18-year-old Brandon Tournear, NW 10th Drive, Mulberry – Charged with Retail Theft. Tournear’s mother was with him at the time and left the store when her son was arrested.
17-year-old female juvenile – Charged with Retail Theft
Others arrested during this investigation include:
29-year-old Zachary Yarborough, Fletcher Avenue, Lakeland – Charged with Possession of Cannabis, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Yarborough also had an outstanding Warrant for Failure to Appear for Work Release. Yarborough has 4 previous arrests which include 2 felony charges, 11 misdemeanor charges.
30-year-old Isaias Aguirre, East Gay Street, Bartow – Charged with VOP –Possession of Methamphetamine, and 2 Outstanding Warrants for Child Support. Aguirre has 21 previous arrests which include 4 felony charges and 17 misdemeanor charges.
20-year-old Antonio Monticue, Bay Avenue SE, Highland City – Charged with 5 warrants for Failure to Appear, and VOP. Monticue has 10 previous arrests which include 2 felony charges and 9 misdemeanor charges.
26-year-old Shawn Scott, Quail Oaks Drive, Plant City – Charged with Active Warrant for Burglary and Camping Restrictions. Scott has 10 previous arrests which include 7 felony and 8 misdemeanor charges.
21-year-old Mira Bush, Highway 98 North, Lot 28, Lakeland – Charged with Active Warrant for Dangerous Drug (Hydrocodone). Bush has 2 previous arrest which include 2 felony and 2 misdemeanor charges.
39-year-old Thomas Bloomer, Ralph Road, Lakeland – Charged with Warrant for Traffic Offense. Bloomer has 13 previous arrests which include 9 felony and 16 misdemeanor charges. Bloomer has been in state prison once before.
55-year-old Gwenevere Gentry, Connestee Road, Lakeland – Charged with Active Warrant for Insufficient Funds.
45-year-old Dottie Mox, Lake Grove Road, Lakeland – Charged with Active Warrant for 6 counts of Insufficient Funds.
42-year-old William Lester, Lantana Lane, Lakeland – Charged with Active Warrant for Domestic Battery. Lester has 22 previous arrests which include 9 felony and 13 misdemeanor charges.
20-year-old Matthew Gilileo, Athens Court, Lakeland – Charged with Active Warrant for Burglary and Petit Theft. Gilileo has 3 previous arrests which include 2 felony and 8 misdemeanor charges.