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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 12/21/2017 

  PCSO Detectives Arrest Organized Retail Crime Suspects  


On December 20, 2017, the PCSO Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Unit charged four out of five suspects (one died in November) who were working together to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise from Home Depot stores in six counties during an 11-month time frame: Polk, Hillsborough, Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole. In all, the suspects were charged with 26 felonies by the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor. The suspects committed 275 confirmed thefts during the time frame July 2016 - June 2017, depriving Home Depot of over $222,000.
 
The investigation began in April 2017 when PCSO was contacted by Home Depot loss prevention personnel. The suspects worked together, under the direction of Alberto Vera-Caraballo, to take merchandise (including flooring, vanities, countertops, doors, tools, and accessories) to the self-checkout lanes, and while one suspect distracted the clerk, the other suspect walked out of the store with the items in a cart, bypassing all points of sale. The suspects would then return the stolen merchandise back inside the store in exchange for a Home Depot gift card. They then sold the gift cards at a jewelry store in Altamonte Springs.
 
Transactions involving the return of merchandise without a receipt in exchange for a Home Depot gift card require a person to use personal identification - in some incidents, the suspects used their own ID cards; in several other incidents, the suspects used the stolen identification cards from 15 victims, 13 of whom live in Florida, and 2 of whom live in Texas.
 
From November 2016 to February 2017, the suspects committed 19 of the 275 thefts at the Home Depot store located at 6335 South Florida Avenue in Lakeland, stealing over $16,000 worth of merchandise to make fraudulent returns.
 
In all, the suspects obtained 271 Home Depot gift cards, totaling $220,000 - Alberto then sold them to a jewelry store for a total value of $149,000 ($71,000 less than the face value of the cards). Recently, Home Depot changed their return policy, no longer allowing the private sale of Home Depot gift cards.
 
The suspects' criminal histories have a combined total of 27 prior felonies, and 26 prior misdemeanors
 
Upon completion of the investigation, PCSO detectives obtained warrants for all five suspects' arrests, then learned one of the suspects died on November 5, 2017. She was Michdalie Palerm-Martinez, DOB 11/5/77, the girlfriend of the ringleader, Alberto Vera-Caraballo. She completed one fraudulent return using her own ID card, and several returns using stolen ID cards. She also used a stolen ID to bond Alberto out of jail in April 2017. The charges on her warrant were: 1 count organized scheme to defraud over $50,000 (F-1); 1 count conspiracy to commit fraud over $50,000 (F-2); 1 count grand theft over $100,000 (F-1); 1 count conspiracy to commit grand theft over $100,000 (F-2); 1 count organized dealing in stolen property (F-1); and 1 count criminal use of personal ID (F-3). Her criminal history includes one prior felony and 2 prior misdemeanors.
 
The following suspects were arrested and/or charged:
 
Alberto Vera-Caraballo, DOB 7/23/69, of Cypress Bay Court, Orlando - he is currently being held in the Osceola Jail on no bond - PCSO detectives served the warrant on him there for:
  • 1 count organized scheme to defraud over $50,000 (F-1)
  • 1 count conspiracy to commit fraud over $50,000 (F-2)
  • 1 count grand theft over $100,000 (F-1)
  • 1 count conspiracy to commit grand theft over $100,000 (F-2)
  • 1 count organized dealing in stolen property (F-1)
  • 1 count criminal use of personal ID (F-3) 
Alberto was the leader of this group of suspects, and recruited others to make fraudulent returns. He is responsible for organizing the execution of 275 confirmed thefts, 19 of which occurred in Polk County. From July 2016 to March 2017, Alberto alone made 164  transactions at a jewelry store in Altamonte Springs, selling 271 Home Depot gift cards valued at over $220,000 for $149,000 ($71,000 less than the actual value). He has been in the Osceola County Jail since October 1, 2017, for 2 counts failure to appear, and 1 count possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. His criminal history includes 20 prior felonies, 17 prior misdemeanors, and 13 failures to appear.

Victor Diaz-Martinez, DOB 8/9/67, of Tikimber Lane, Orlando - he is Michdalie's cousin (see above) - he was arrested on December 20th in Orange County and is being housed in the Orange County Jail for:

  • 1 count organized scheme to defraud over $50,000 (F-1)
  • 1 count conspiracy to commit fraud over $50,000 (F-2)
  • 1 count grand theft over $100,000 (F-1)
  • 1 count conspiracy to commit grand theft over $100,000 (F-2)
  • 1 count organized dealing in stolen property (F-1)
  • 1 count criminal use of personal ID (F-3)  

Victor was involved in the 275 confirmed thefts, 19 of which were in Polk County. He completed three fraudulent returns using his own ID card, and several returns using stolen ID cards. He recently bonded out of the Osceola County Jail. His criminal history includes 5 prior felonies, and 7 prior misdemeanors. 

Alexander Febles-Mirelis, DOB 12/4/81, of Desoto Drive, Kissimmee - he is Giselle's husband (see below) - he has a Polk County warrant for his arrest, and is believed to be in the Miami area. He has a Polk County warrant for:

  • 1 count conspiracy to commit fraud over $50,000 (F-2)
  • 1 count conspiracy to commit grand theft over $100,000 (F-2)
  • 3 counts organized dealing in stolen property (F-1)  

Alexander was involved in 4 confirmed thefts, none of which were in Polk County. He completed three fraudulent returns using his own ID card. His criminal history includes a prior felony. 

Giselle Sanchez Juala, DOB 11/15/76, of Desoto Drive, Kissimmee - she is Alexander's wife (see above) - she has a Polk County warrant for his arrest, and is believed to be in the Miami area. She has a Polk County warrant for:

  • 1 count conspiracy to commit fraud over $50,000 (F-2)
  • 1 count conspiracy to commit grand theft over $100,000 (F-2)
  • 1 count organized dealing in stolen property (F-1)  

Giselle was involved in one confirmed theft, not in Polk County. She admitted to fraudulently returning property with her husband, and giving the gift cards to Alberto. She attempted to complete a fraudulent return but was declined.