PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.- Charlotte County Sheriff's detectives arrested two people that may have burglarized 100 unlocked vehicles in Port Charlotte the past two weeks. Ashley Marie Diedrick, 20, of 452 Hippel St. in Port Charlotte, and Christopher Michael Almenas, 22, who is homeless in Lehigh Acres, were both arrested.
CCSO detectives began a massive investigation, and with the help of a Crimes Stopper tip that Diedrick and Almenas were responsible for the rash of unlocked vehicle burglaries. Detectives arrested both over the past weekend and have charged Diedrick and Almenas so far with nine of the many unlocked vehicle burglary cases.
Stolen were GPS and iPod units, wallets, jewelry, cash, binoculars, cameras, power tools, and many other items. A lot of the items were located at pawn shops; two in Port Charlotte and one in North Port, and some in their possession. The initial charges were made for stolen items taken from unlocked vehicles on Corktree Circle and Goldcup Court, plus Lacombe and Lewiston avenues in Port Charlotte. Detectives continue their investigation putting cases together solving numerous vehicle burglaries attributed to Diedrick and Almenas. More charges are expected to be filed.
As of Monday morning, Diedrick has 32 charges stemming from nine vehicle burglaries that include Burglary to a Conveyance, Dealing in Stolen Property, Grand Theft; Armed Burglary, Petit Theft, Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, False Verification of Ownership of a Second Hand Dealer (Pawn Shop).
Almenas so far has 25 charges, also on nine of the vehicle burglaries solved that include Burglary to a Conveyance, Petit Theft, Fraudulent use of a Credit Card, Accessory after the Fact, and Grand Theft. Both remain in the Charlotte County Jail as the investigations continue.
Sheriff Bill Cameron again reminds motorists to, “Always lock your vehicles; unlocked cars and trucks are easy targets for those looking for cell phones, GPS units, satellite radios, money, wallets, purses, CD’s, iPods, drugs and weapons left in unsecured vehicles. Thieves quietly get in and out of an unlocked car or truck in seconds which could be prevented by simply locking your vehicles.”