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Tip leads to arrests, recovery of goods
By RODNEY THRASH, Times Staff Writer
Published January 13, 2008
TAMPA - An informant Saturday led detectives to nearly $200,000 worth of stolen goods and two members of a theft ring that operated between a North Tampa apartment complex and South Florida, Tampa police said.
Two suspects told the tipster they had stolen a trailer last month from a Days Inn on N Dale Mabry Highway, police said. They wanted him to take the contents of the trailer - 42 boxes of cell phone repeaters valued at $187,000 - to a junk yard. Instead, the man led police to the Regency Palms Apartments, 4123 E Linebaugh Ave.
Inside unit No. 904, officers said they found the boxes of repeaters, which enhance cell phone reception in buildings where the quality is poor. Tampa police also recovered three guns, $7,600 in counterfeit cash and one vehicle.
Two men, Hector Felician-Pizzaro and Lazaro Raul Fernandez, were in police custody Saturday.
Fernandez, 22, "admitted to theft of the trailer, removing the repeaters, and involvement with the counterfeiting," said Detective Steve Brock, who worked on the case.
The scheme, Brock said, worked like this:
"They steal trailers, break into semitractor trailers for the contents. They typically sell goods, take them, funnel them down to Miami to sell on the street. The sole purpose of their thefts is the quick cash to buy drugs."
Brock didn't know how long the ring had been going, but said it was a "loose knit group" of at least 30 people. The investigation is continuing.