Crime

Police: Landlord jailed for felony theft after trashing tenant’s stuff

A Stock Island woman is facing felony grand theft charges after police say she trashed her tenant’s belongings, from his Armani jean collection to his Social Security card, while trying to evict him from his rented room.

Margaret “Muffin” Weakley, 65, was jailed Monday night and accused of stealing $5,000 to $10,000 worth of belongings in April.

Weakley was picked up on a warrant. Tuesday, she remained at the Stock Island Detention Center on $5,000 bond.

Romain Cineus, 40, who rented the front room of B4 8th Ave., reported to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office a list of stolen items that total $35,900 and include a TV, a MacBook, 24 pairs of Armani jeans valued at $3,360, 24 pairs of dress shoes, 24 pairs of shorts and eight bottles of designer cologne valued at $1,320, along with his driver’s license and Social Security card.

Cineus also reported losing 80 criminal-justice textbooks worth $14,800.

The items were removed April 6 by employees of the cleaning company Weakley hired, according to the arrest report. Believing it was all abandoned property, the employees took some things and left the rest curb side for the garbage pickup trucks.

The cleaners told police they saw no personal paperwork while they were removing items.

“Margaret did not know what happened to the belongings after the cleaning service removed them,” deputies wrote, adding that on April 1, days before the cleaning, they provided her with a Florida landlord-tenant law brochure and information on how to legally file for an eviction through the county clerk of court.

Weakley told deputies she had been trying to evict Cineus, but the report gives no reason. In one part, he is described as a “problem tenant,” as described by Weakley to one of the cleaners.

Cineus said after failing to find a new rental he attempted to pay Weakley rent via a money order but she refused, the report states. He said he had to sleep in his car for five days and that Weakley trashed his things while he was away.

Cineus called police April 10, saying Weakley had locked him out of the room. She had left a handwritten eviction notice on his door March 7.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen

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