Hialeah man charged in Key Largo watercraft theft

A Hialeah man said he was towing a personal watercraft from Key Largo at 1 a.m. Sunday for his friend, “Albert.”

Key Largo homeowner Carlos Pla, the small vessel’s actual owner, disagrees.

Lazaro D. Cruz, 20, was arrested by Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Gil Gonzalez on three felony counts, including grand theft exceeding $10,000.

Gonzalez was watching traffic near mile marker 105 on U.S. 1 when he saw a truck towing the trailered PWC north. Gonzalez made a traffic stop since the trailer had no tail lights, agency spokeswoman Becky Herrin said.

Cruz contended the craft belonged to a friend named Albert. Gonzalez checked the boat registration and called Pla, a Miami resident with a Keys weekend home. Pla said the PWC should be in his gated yard with a golf cart parked in front of it as an added precaution.

Deputy Cody Kerns went to the home to find “the gate propped open and the golf cart parked across the street.”

Cruz was booked on two felony counts of stealing the PWC and its trailer, along with possession of burglary tools. All are felonies. Cruz posted $7,500 bond and was released later Sunday, pending court action.

Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206