Stolen coins find way back to owner

A pawn shop employee holds coins alleged thieves took into his store. Turns out, the coins were stolen from the employee days earlier.
A pawn shop employee holds coins alleged thieves took into his store. Turns out, the coins were stolen from the employee days earlier.

Pawning 101: Make sure the person you stole from doesn’t work at the pawn shop where you’re fencing your loot.

Two men are under arrest in Marathon after they tried to pawn coins that belonged to an employee of the pawn shop, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Investigations also revealed a connection to several vehicle burglaries and a residential burglary in the Marathon area, said Deputy Becky Herrin, the Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

The employee of Joe’s Pawn shop told Deputy Nick Whiteman he noticed his truck had been entered before going to work Thursday morning. He said cash and some old foreign coins were missing from the truck, but he didn’t report the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.

But when Jesus Barreto, 23, of Marathon and Shean Palmer, also 23, of Miami entered the pawn shop at noon Thursday with some old coins, the employee recognized the coins as his. He confronted the two men about it, and then called the Sheriff’s Office.

Barreto and Palmer left the shop and were found a short time later at the McDonald’s restaurant at 5585 Overseas Highway. Barreto chose not to speak to officers, but Palmer agreed to talk, Herrin said.

Palmer said he and Barreto were together in the early morning hours. He said Barreto told him he was going to do some “hits and licks,” which Palmer said meant that Barreto was going to do some vehicle and residential burglaries. Palmer pulled out a phone and a tablet computer from his backpack, which he said Barreto later gave to him to hold, Herrin said.

At about the same time, Detective Michael Sielicki was investigating a residential burglary at 751 63rd Street West in Marathon. Items taken from the home included a phone and tablet computer. A photo belonging to the victim of the burglary was found in Palmer’s backpack.

At the residential burglary scene, Detective Sielicki found an envelope with a car registration in it. On the registration was a name and address of a neighbor down the street. Sielicki left his card for the neighbor and the neighbor called him a short time later. The neighbor confirmed both his cars had been entered during the night, Herrin said.

The victim said he has video surveillance. He allowed detectives to view it. On the video, they saw a man enter one of the cars at the home and rummage through it. The clothing worn by the man on the video matched that worn by Barreto when he was found at McDonald’s, Herrin said.

Barreto was arrested on charges of burglary of an occupied structure, burglary of a conveyance, grand theft, dealing in stolen property and theft. As of press time Friday, he is in county jail on $41,500 bond. Palmer was arrested on grand theft, theft and dealing in stolen property charges. He too was still in jail Friday, held on a bond of more than $10,000.

Detectives are still investigating several more burglaries in Marathon overnight. There may be further charges against the two men, Herrin said.