CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Four people, including two Naples men, were arrested for their involvement in the theft and sale of emergency equipment intended to aid Hurricane Ian victims after the storm.
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) and Florida Highway Patrol, the four suspects were involved in a criminal theft ring and arrested on crimes listed in the state Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (R.I.C.O.) Act.
Investigation into the ring began in April this year after CCSO connected a group of suspects to the theft of seven state-owned R.V.s/campers intended to assist Ian victims.
From March to July this year, the group stole, sold and delivered 19 vehicles, — 16 of which belonged to the state — one trailer and two pieces of heavy equipment valued at more than $1 million.
CCSO says the suspects engaged in word-of-mouth sales at significantly low, cash-only prices.
So far, nine of the vehicles have been located. 11 remain stolen, along with the trailer and heavy equipment.
Misael Gonzalez, 53, and Ivan Gutierrez Miranda, 43, of Naples were arrested and booked into the Collier County Jail.
The other two suspects, Juan Carlos Santana, 55, and Giddel Santana Morales, 43, were booked in Miami-Dade County.
One suspect remains at large. CCSO is actively searching for Yosmel Betancourt Morales, 32, of Lake Worth.