PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Late Monday night, Punta Gorda Police arrested 37 year old Javier. G. Fernandez of Miami, 28 year old Francisco M. Cabrera of Naples, 32 year old Yoismel G. Utra of Naples, and 26 year old Pereda R. Montesino of Hialeah for Loitering and Prowling in the Punta Gorda Isles (PGI) subdivision.
Punta Gorda Police, along with members of a multi-jurisdictional boat theft task force comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, responded to the 4000 block of Bal Harbor Blvd in Punta Gorda as a result of criminal intelligence generated by the task force that indicated a luxury boat theft was likely to take place that night in PGI.
Fernandez was found hiding in his vehicle, a 2001 Chevrolet van, which contained approximately 20 large plastic drums filled with an estimated 200 gallons of fuel; a known modus operandi of those engaged in luxury boat thefts as these large vessels need large quantities of fuel when stolen to cross the Gulf of Mexico and reach their foreign destination port.
Cabrera and Utra were found hiding in Cabrera's vehicle, a 1995 BMW, which contained food, water, clothing and a satellite phone; provisions known to be carried by individuals engaged in luxury boat thefts which require a multi-day boat trip outside of US waters.
Montesino was observed standing by a 2007 38 foot Sea Ray in the immediate area and jumped into the canal in attempt to flee law enforcement. Members of the task force apprehended Montesino.
Two other, unidentified Hispanic males were on the boat and jumped into the canal evading capture. Police are still looking for the men, one of whom was described as a heavyset Hispanic male and the other who was described as a Hispanic male with a thin build.
All four men were arrested and charged for Loitering and Prowling. Montesino was additionally charged with Possession of a Fraudulent Drivers License.
The Punta Gorda Police Department investigation continues in concert with other local, state, and federal agencies. Anybody with information pertaining to this incident or other crimes is encouraged to contact the Punta Gorda Police department at 941-639-4111.