Sarasota police make arrests in stolen lawn equipment case

- Police in Sarasota say they have arrested one and are searching for another in connection to $100,000-worth of stolen lawn equipment.

Police said they have arrested 57-year-old Lazaro Rodriguez following a two-month investigation. Detectives found stolen property from 12 different burglary cases, totaling more than 65 items from 11 different victims.

In February and March, employees with Southwest Concrete and Masonry, located at 921 North Lime Avenue, reported four burglaries where construction tools were stolen. Between March 12 and 19, additional businesses reported burglaries, detectives said. Stolen items included jack hammers, miter saws and impact sockets. 

On March 19, police set up surveillance equipment and learned a concrete saw belonging to Southwest Concrete and Masonry was in the process of being stolen. They said the saw was transported to Extra Space Storage, located at 2255 North Washington Boulevard. When they arrived, they spotted Rodriguez moving items between a storage unit and a truck, including two concrete saws. He was placed under arrest.

Police said they also found cocaine and $3,452 in U.S. currency inside his vehicle, which they believe was proceeds from narcotic sales.

They are also searching for 31-year-old Ricardo J. Ruiz in connection to the stolen property. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Detective Luis Paris at 941-363-5830 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-8477 or submit a tip online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.

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