America's pawnshop and jewelry store owners can rest a little easier tonight, because authorities have arrested eight South Florida men accused of running a burglary ring that stole $6 million worth of jewelry from stores in six states over the past two years. All eight have been charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.
Authorities say the men set up a crime ring that worked with multiple crews of burglars. The thieves targeted high-end jewelry stores and pawnshops and entered the properties by cutting holes in the roofs. Once inside, the men quickly disabled all alarms and security cameras, and used blowtorches to break into safes.
"This group moved fast and hit targets in multiple jurisdictions, but they underestimated the level of sophistication and collaboration among our law enforcement agencies," Commissioner Gerald Bailey said in a statement.
The group has been linked to robberies in not only Florida but also North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Connecticut.
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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced the following men were arrested in late May:
- Jose Betancourt, 43, of Miami
- Yenier Cardentey, 31, of Miami Gardens
- Juan Collado-Miranda, 44, of Coral Gables
- Juan Manresa-Leyva, 41, of Hollywood
- Abelardo Pena-Cardentey, 33, of Fort Lauderdale
- Maykel Roque, 27, of Miami Gardens
- Tony Sanchez, 26, of Miami, Fla
- Yaubri Suarez, 30, of Hialeah
A ninth suspect -- Osvaldo Cruz, 40, of Hialeah Gardens -- is still at large.