Sarasota burglary heist thwarted by GPS tracker

Sarasota burglary heist thwarted with help of GPS.

SARASOTA, FL. (WFLA – ) Two bold burglars pulled off a daring heist, stealing tens of thousands of dollars of lawn equipment. But their plan was foiled because the landscaping business tracked their every move through GPS. On Sunday night, two burglars came to ArtisTree Landscape in Sarasota with a plan. After breaking through the fence, they used an ax to smashed a hole through a thick wall.

 Lepper knew exactly where they were. The stolen pickup had a GPS tracker, and Lepper tracked it all the way down to Miami.
Lepper knew exactly where they were. The stolen pickup had a GPS tracker, and Lepper tracked it all the way down to Miami.

Account executive Jeremy Lepper said, “This is like Shawshank Redemption.”  The thieves also busted an office window and even tore apart the alarm system to get to the goods. Lepper says it was a very sophisticated operation. He said, “It definitely shows me that these guys knew what they were doing and knew what they wanted.”

Inside, surveillance cameras watched as the men spent two hours stealing a pickup, a trailer and tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of lawn equipment. But the next morning, Lepper knew exactly where they were. The stolen pickup had a GPS tracker, and Lepper tracked it all the way down to Miami.

Lepper said, “When I zoomed in, it was actually parked and located in front of a house.” Within hours of the crime, 31-year-old Rauniel Quintero

Mug shot of Rauniel Quintero
Mug shot of Rauniel Quintero

was arrested and most of the equipment was recovered. That GPS came in handy.

Sgt. Mike Dumer with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said, “ArtisTree did a lot of right things, they tried to do the best they could.”

 Lepper knew exactly where they were. The stolen pickup had a GPS tracker, and Lepper tracked it all the way down to Miami.
Lepper knew exactly where they were. The stolen pickup had a GPS tracker, and Lepper tracked it all the way down to Miami.

Detectives say there’s a lot business owners can do to protect their belongings. Dumer said, “Good fencing in the area, locking any kind of gates, having an alarm system, having flood lights available, are all good measures for people to have.”

Dumer adds that you make sure your alarm system can go off if someone tampers with it. Also, if possible try to install discreet surveillance cameras so burglars won’t see them.

Lepper is thankful that his safeguards helped solve the case “Having the video system, the surveillance, along with the GPS in our trucks has been crucial,” he said.

There’s still at least one burglar on the loose. Authorities say this is part of an organized crime ring, and it’s still under investigation.

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