Investigators have linked an East Naples man — who was arrested last month after deputies said he stole a $15,000 watch from a Bay Colony apartment — to numerous jewelry thefts in the community since May.
Mariano Rodriguez, 35, faces felony charges of grand theft, dealing in stolen property and defrauding a pawnbroker for pawned items over $300, according to a Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He was booked at the Naples Jail Center on $225,000 bail.
A Bay Colony resident contacted deputies July 24 to report that his Cartier watch was missing from the bathroom counter of his apartment in the 8700 block of Bay Colony Drive in North Naples, the report states.
The man told deputies that after a Bay Colony employee escorted two workers into the residence, he later discovered that his watch was missing.
When deputies checked local pawn records two days later, they found a Cartier watch matching the description of the missing watch at a pawnshop in the 1900 block of Davis Boulevard, according to the report.
The pawn ticket identified Rodriguez as the one who completed the transaction and indicated he received $350 for the watch, the report states.
Bay Colony management was only able to identify the contractor that had serviced the resident’s apartment as “Mariano,” but a manager was able to identify Rodriguez from a photo lineup, deputies wrote.
The clerk who completed the transaction at the pawnshop also identified Rodriguez as the man who had pawned the watch, the report states.
When investigators reviewed Rodriguez’s pawn activity, they found 20 pawn transactions involving high-end jewelry between May 12 and July 21, according to the report.
Deputies contacted the contractor company that had hired Rodriguez and determined he had worked at two high-rises in Bay Colony during that time frame, the report states. Bay Colony management told deputies that because the majority of its residents are seasonal, they may “not yet have discovered that they were victims of a theft,” according to the report.
After deputies arrested Rodriguez on July 27, he confessed to stealing the watch while he was in the apartment performing scheduled maintenance and later pawning it, the report states.
When deputies asked Rodriguez about the other pawnshop transactions involving high-end jewelry, he told them that all of the jewelry pawned since May “was stolen from the apartments of numerous victims within Bay Colony,” according to the report.
Rodriguez told investigators “he stole and pawned property from every unit, which had property to take” and that he had access to, the report stated. Investigators linked Rodriguez to thefts of other jewelry and watches from Bay Colony apartments and added charges since his initial July 27 arrest.
Deputies noted that Rodriguez showed remorse, apologized and cooperated.
“He indicated that he had committed the thefts to provide for his family,” deputies wrote.