By Kevin Deutsch
A second man has been arrested by Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives probing a stolen goods racket in Tamarac, court records show.
Kevin Hawkins, 23, was arrested in Tamarac on Aug. 13 and charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property. The records show that he pleaded not guilty and was released from the Broward Main Jail on a $4,500 bond.
Hawkins was an employee of Ferguson Enterprises, working out of the company’s warehouse on West Commercial Boulevard in Tamarac, when surveillance video caught him stealing a Sub Zero refrigerator worth $5,200 off the warehouse floor, according to an arrest affidavit filed by BSO.
According to detectives, Hawkins took the fridge out through the warehouse’s bay door, where trucks pick up merchandise. The footage showed him returning inside without the fridge, records show.
After an inventory check, Ferguson managers told detectives the item was missing and identified Hawkins from their warehouse video, according to BSO.
When detectives interviewed Hawkins, he admitted stealing three to five items from Ferguson Enterprises and selling them for $300 apiece to a delivery driver subcontracted by the company, records show.
“Hawkins advised he would remove items that he would select from the warehouse, load them onto the truck, and he would receive a cash payment for the item,” wrote BSO Detective Gerald Kitchell.
The arrest came after detectives announced “Operation Cold Justice,” an undercover BSO operation launched in late July to break up a stolen goods racket involving high-end appliances being sold online.
Before nailing Hawkins, detectives arrested Luiz Rodrigues, 41, who is suspected of selling merchandise stolen from Ferguson Enterprises, according to court records. Detectives said Rodrigues took them inside several storage units in Pompano Beach, showing them stolen items he had posted for sale online.
According to an arrest affidavit, on Aug. 4, Rodrigues agreed to sell several stolen items to an undercover deputy for $18,500 in cash. Among the goods included in the deal were two stolen refrigerators.
After the bust, detectives recovered a dozen stolen appliances, all reported stolen from Ferguson Enterprises. Investigators also seized more than $10,000 in cash.
Rodrigues of Deerfield Beach was arrested on August 4 and charged with two counts of dealing in stolen property. He has pleaded not guilty.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.