Retail Theft Operation Yields 16 Arrests
NEWS RELEASE 19-122 - JULY 23, 2019
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested 16 people in a five-day operation targeting retail theft in Sarasota County.
During the operation, deputies focused on retail corridors in Sarasota as well as South Tamiami Trail in Venice. The unique public-private partnership between the sheriff’s office and local retailers began in 2013 with the goal of working together to curb retail theft.
Of particular note are the arrests of Osmel Fuentes, Danielle Lingard and Emily Struble. On July 10, loss prevention employees at Dillard’s department store in the University Town Center area contacted deputies about two women who stole $600 in merchandise. The suspects, later identified as Lingard and Struble, fled to the parking lot on foot pushing an infant in a stroller. Witnesses saw them get into a car driven by Fuentes who fled into heavy traffic. When deputies initiated a traffic stop, they found an infant and toddler in the backseat. While the infant did not have proper safety restraints, both children were unharmed. The stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to the store. In addition to the theft charges, all three defendants were also charged with Child Neglect.
“These retail operations are part of our intelligence-led policing model,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “Based on crime analysis, we can look at hotspots and deploy resources during these maintenance-type initiatives. Our goal was to not only assist local businesses but also to send a message to criminals that retail crime will not be tolerated in this community.”
In total, deputies made 16 arrests and filed 41 charges. Altogether, those arrested have 324 prior charges and 140 prior convictions.
- Amanda Pepi, DOB 07/09/87, of 6579 Glacier Avenue, North Port, is charged with one count of Petit Theft.
- Sylvester Bruggeman, DOB 08/23/94, of 4220 Murdock Avenue, Sarasota, is charged with one count of Petit Theft.
- Ashley De Fouw, DOB 06/06/00, of 2916 Java Plum Avenue, Sarasota, is charged with one count of Petit Theft.
- Erin Mahoney, DOB 06/16/85, of 175 Pointe Loop Drive, Venice, is charged with Petit Theft, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
- Amanda Wessel, DOB 12/28/89, of 411 Gulf Breeze Boulevard North, Unit 110, Venice, is charged with two counts of Violation of Probation.
- Richard Deemer, DOB 03/03/90, of 300 Alligator Place, Venice, is charged with Possession of Marijuana and Driving While License Suspended.
- Osmel Fuentes, DOB 10/27/96, of Bradenton, is charged with Fleeing to Elude, Grand Theft, Resisting Retail Merchant and two counts of Child Neglect.
- Danielle Lingard, DOB 07/19/77, of Bradenton, is charged with Grand Theft, Resisting Retail Merchant and two counts of Child Neglect.
- Emily Struble, DOB 01/26/00, of Bradenton, is charged with Grand Theft, Resisting Retail Merchant and two counts of Child Neglect.
- Sean Vickers, DOB 09/02/79, of 1800 Lawrence Court, Clearwater, is charged with one count of Driving While License Suspended.
- Cecelia Sliker, DOB 03/01/71, of 604 South Neponsit Drive, Venice, is charged with one count of Petit Theft.
- Philip Lagana, DOB 04/24/77, of 5365 Starwood Place, Sarasota, is charged with Petit Theft, Possession of Rock Cocaine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
- William Gates, DOB 08/14/87, of 7232 Laurel Street, Weekiawachee, is charged with Grand Theft, Driving While License Suspended and Felon in Possession of a Concealed Weapon.
- Gary Gwinn, DOB 09/26/77, of 5217 18th Avenue South, Gulfport, is charged with two counts of Drug Possession, three counts of Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification, one count of Grand Theft and one count of Providing False Identification.
- Matthew Gwinn, DOB 08/23/84, of 5217 18th Avenue South, Gulfport, is charged with one count of Grand Theft.
- Jesse Greene, DOB 03/23/83, of 3698 Taro Way, Sarasota, is charged with Petit Theft and Resisting Retail Merchant.
This operation utilized the Tactical, Intelligence, and Crime Analysis Units. To date, retail theft operations have resulted in more than 230 arrests.