Detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) successfully apprehended two individuals engaged in a complex retail theft operation, a press release states.
According to the release, at approximately 1:30 pm on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, store staff at Home Depot, located at 9941 E. Amo Drive, observed two suspects attempting to conceal high-value items, filling trash can boxes with tools, breakers, and switches.
The two suspects, Alain Sanches Garcia, 41, and Leonardo Nunez Portal, 39 then attempted to leave without payment. When confronted by an employee, the duo tried to pay only for the trash cans, but their card was declined. Police say the suspects ultimately resorted to staging one of the boxes within the store while purchasing the other at a checkout counter, using a credit card.
Detectives within the HCSO Organized Retail Theft Working Group were conducting a one-day operation and executed a tactical takedown at the suspect's truck and trailer, leading to the recovery of the stolen items, totaling $3,945.23.
Further inspection revealed additional taped boxes inside the vehicle, matching the stolen items, receipts from multiple Hillsborough County Home Depot stores, as well as receipts from two stores in Lee County from the previous day.
In total, the release states that HCSO recovered $15,497.54 worth of stolen property from Home Depot, involving grand thefts of $2,157.66 and $1,568.44 from the stores located at 712 N. Dale Mabry Highway and 6730 Memorial Highway.
"The successful collaboration between store personnel and law enforcement, in this case, is a testament to our community's dedication to maintaining safety and security," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "These two traveled across the state to commit crimes, score a deal, and steal right here in Hillsborough County, and now they will pay the price."
Both Garcia and Portal face multiple charges, including Grand Theft and Retail Theft. At the same time, Lee County authorities were alerted about their involvement in grand thefts in their jurisdiction.
Article by Rachael Volpe