KISSIMMEE — With Florida still posting an unemployment rate above the national average, it’s generally assumed that those who are gainfully employed should be thankful they have that steady paycheck, and willing to work hard to keep their position.
Not everyone, though, appears to share that sentiment. At least one area restaurant discovered that a surprising suspect was arrested for a burglary there.
On Monday around 5:40 a.m., Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies got a call about a burglary at the Chipolte Mexican Grill restaurant at 3254 N. John Young Parkway in Kissimmee. The store manager told deputies that security at the shopping plaza hosting the restaurant, The Loop, had notified the Chipolte management that their door had been smashed open.
Managers who got to the office found that more than $7,500 was missing from the company safe.
By later that afternoon, though, deputies had a suspect in custody. According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, it was not a stranger who had targeted the safe, but an employee.
“After further investigation, Abraham Ali, an assistant manager at the restaurant, was identified as a suspect,” noted Twis Lizasuain, public information officer for the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, in her report on the arrest.
Deputies located Ali, and brought him in for questioning. Lizasuain said that proved to be an even bigger problem for Ali, since he “provided conflicting statements to detectives.”
As a result, detectives arrested Ali, 26, of 2020 Estancia Circle in Kissimmee, and charged him with burglary, grand theft and providing false information to a law enforcement officer during an investigation.
He was booked into the Osceola County Jail.
Restaurants are not the only businesses in the Kissimmee area to have been targeted for burglaries in recent weeks. In fact, two stores that haven’t even been built yet got robbed, when steel was removed from the construction sites.
This week, Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies, working with the Community Response Team East, arrested two men suspected of being behind three burglaries that targeted Race Trac gas stations under construction.
The investigation started on Nov. 8, when deputies got a complaint from the construction site at the Race Trac at 2990 N. John Young Parkway in Kissimmee. The store management said the Race Trac gas station and convenience store, still being built, had just lost $10,000 worth of steel pipes that had been stolen overnight.
On Nov. 14, CRT East conducted an undercover operation at a different Race Trac store that was also under construction, this one at 1720 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee. It turns out the first Race Trac was not the only one being targeted for theft, detectives noted.
“While conducting surveillance from inside this construction site, deputies observed a white pickup truck enter the site,” Lizasuain said. “Two suspects, later identified as Aramis Gonzalez Perez and Jose Alejandro De La Nuez Labanino, exited the vehicle and began loading steel pipes in the back of the truck.”
Once the truck left the property, deputies followed the vehicle to a home at 2029 Blossom Terrace in Orlando.
The next day, deputies decided to pay a second visit to that home, where Labanino lives.
“They cooperated with the investigation and based on their statements, Labino and Perez were arrested,” Lizasuain said.
Perez, 25, of 6426 Boice St. in Orlando, and Labanino, 20, of 2029 Blossom Terrace in Orlando, were both charged with two counts of unoccupied burglary, two counts of grand theft and two counts of trespassing on a construction site. They were booked into the Orange County Jail.
Lizasuain said detectives are still trying to determine if the two suspects had robbed other construction sites in the region.
“The investigation is ongoing, with additional charges pending,” she noted.
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