Detectives are looking into whether a homeless Key Largo man who was arrested Thursday for allegedly breaking into a Key Largo business is responsible for six similar break-ins in the area over the past several months.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says Sgt. Jason Madnick caught Wayne Baer, 22, in the middle of breaking into the Dollar Tree store at mile marker 101 at 1:45 a.m.
Baer is being held on $35,000 bond, charged with two felony counts each of burglary and criminal mischief, one felony count of possessing burglar tools, two misdemeanor counts of petty theft and one misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief.
Deputy Becky Herrin said Madnick was patrolling the area, checking on businesses because of the other six burglaries. At the Dollar Tree, he found glass doors on the side of the building ajar and called for backup.
As he waited, he saw what detectives say turned out to be Baer in the store donning a hooded sweatshirt and something white covering his hands. As Madnick watched, Herrin said, Baer entered a locked office by climbing through a slotted aluminum vent.
When backup arrived, they arrested Baer. In the office, Herrin said, they found a safe and it looked like Baer had used a saw from the store and had begun cutting through the safe's hinges. On the floor were two white socks that may have been what Baer was wearing over his hands.
Just a few days ago, the Sheriff's Office said six break-ins in the area dating to last
summer appear to be related because of the way the burglaries happened.
The businesses in those cases were the Island Market Place at mile marker 101, Sharky's Pub and Galley Restaurant on Caribbean Drive in Key Largo, the D-Hookers restaurant at mile marker 102.5, Snook's Bayside at mile marker 99.4, the American Legion on Seagate Boulevard in Key Largo and the Pilot House Restaurant, also on Seagate.
Homestead man faces charges for stealing from Key Largo store
Meanwhile, a Homestead man is in jail accused of stealing stuff from a Key Largo store Friday afternoon and for alleged stealing rods and reels from a boat.
The clerk from the Family Dollar store at mile marker 105.6 of U.S. 1 called the Sheriff’s Office shortly after 2 p.m. saying a man just left the store with a bag full of goods he didn't pay for. When Deputy Jean Gonzalez arrived, he viewed a video of the theft and radioed a description of the suspect to dispatchers. Deputy Dave Campbell was in the area and began looking for the man.
The clerk told Gonzalez the man entered the store with two women. She said one woman stood outside while the other bought cigarettes. She said the woman who bought the cigarettes then gave the Family Dollar bag to the man. She said the man filled the bag with dozens of CDs, DVDs and XBox games. He left the store without paying, Herrin said.
Campbell spotted a man fitting the suspect’s description on Grassy Road. He was stuffing fishing rods and reels into the rear of a car, Herrin said. When the deputy confronted him, he dropped the gear and ran. He was caught a short distance away.
Investigation revealed the rods and reels were taken from a nearby boat belonging to a woman who lives in the neighborhood. The items stolen from the Family Dollar store were inside the car. The two women and a young girl were also in the car.
Darrin Galarza, 30, of Homestead was arrested on charges of vehicle burglary, two counts of theft, trespassing and resisting arrest.