A major “chop shop” was busted in Hendry County based on a lead from a Monroe County resident and follow-up from two Sheriff’s Office detectives.
The Key Largo resident’s custom-made aluminum fuel tank was stolen from the bed of his truck, which was parked at his home, on Oct. 5. The victim spotted the tank in a Craigslist ad. A friend of his called the number provided in the ad, and the person who answered the phone said it was being stored at a property on Pioneer 16th Street in Hendry.
Monroe County Detectives Francisco Gaete and Ian Barnett, who were investigating this and several other stolen property cases, received a tip about the stolen fuel tank’s location. They called Hendry County detectives, who went to the property and found numerous stolen ATVs, boats, trailers and automobiles.
These were items reported stolen in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough counties.
Hendry County cops arrested Mitchell Wayne Everett, 49, of Hendry County, and Ernesto Gutierrez Garcia of Hialeah. They both face several felony charges in connection to the case.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said more charges may follow against the men, including some from the Keys based on a stolen boat and vehicle.