SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has arrested two Miami men in connection to allegedly stealing nearly $9,000 in merchandise from local Home Depot stores.
Deputies say on Tuesday around 5:30 p.m., a local Home Depot loss prevention specialist contacted SCSO about a shoplifting incident that was happening at that time.
According to deputies, the specialist noticed that Otniel Rodriguez, 37, had positioned his shopping cart in way that is consistent with retail theft and the specialist saw him collect faucets, garbage disposals and other items.
These items came out to total $3,901.17.
Deputies say the specialist then noticed another man, Giraldo Trujillo, 43, walk past him and he seemed like he was checking him out.
Reports say Trujillo was wearing a white earbud headset in a way that is simlar to the way someone would be wearing one while on the phone.
According to law enforcement officers, the specialist saw Trujillo staring at him and he looked back over to Rodriguez who then left the shopping cart in the store and walked away.
Deputies say a description of the vehicle that Rodriguez and Trujillo drove away in was collected by the specialist and that information was given over to deputies who then followed the vehicle into a Publix parking lot.
Deputies made contact with the two men and once they separated the men from each other, they say they noticed several items such as faucets in plain view.
Reports say the specialist met deputies at the vehicles and identified the boxes in the vehicle and he said that one of the boxes came from a Home Depot store in North Port.
Deputies say a video revealed that Trujillo was distracting customer service associates at the Home Depot while Rodriguez walked out of the store with a shopping full of items that were covered up due to a rug being placed on top of the cart.
The specialist then contacted a a store manager of Home Depot in Venice who also confirmed that Trujillo and Rodriguez walked out of that store a cart full of items that were covered by a rug too.
According to deputies, a search warrant was conducted on the vehicle that Trujillo and Rodriguez were traveling in and they were both arrested and charged with grand theft.
Numerous stolen items were collected and returned to the Home Depot stores and the total cost of the merchandise came out to be $8,866.16.