A crime spree that took place across eight counties and resulted in over $47,000 in stolen items came to a head Tuesday, Nov. 1, with two arrests in Sarasota County.
Outstanding warrants led the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of Florida Department of Law Enforcement, to arrest Alexi Baldivia and Randy Rivero, according to a statement.
The men have been charged by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office of statewide prosecution with theft and scheme to defraud. The investigation led by FDLE found that Baldivia and Rivero allegedly visited Lowe’s Home Improvement stores across eight counties in Florida and stole items like doors, flooring, windows and more.
“Organized retail theft hurts consumers as stores must account for losses when pricing items, but we are fighting back, and this latest case is just another example of my office working with law enforcement to stop criminals targeting stores across our state,” Moody says in the release. “My statewide prosecutors will ensure this criminal organization faces justice for their rampant crime spree.”
The two men carried out their scheme to steal by purchasing the items, obtaining the itemized receipt, authorities contend. They would then travel to another Lowe’s store, pick up the same items and present the receipt at the door, officials alleged, claiming to have made the purchase in that store. The duo would then cancel the original purchase.
There were 33 fraudulent transactions documented in the investigation between Baldivia and Rivero across Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Orange, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia counties.
The defendants are being charged with two second-degree felonies: one count of grand theft of over $20,000 and organized scheme to defraud of over $20,000.