PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - On September 24, 2010, Punta Gorda Police Officers responded to Tripoli Blvd. in the Burnt Store Isles subdivision in response to multiple vehicle burglaries. Upon arrival, officers made contact with the victim who reported four unlocked vehicles in her driveway had been burglarized and three radar detectors and a wallet belonging to her husband were stolen. The wallet contained various forms of identification and credit cards.
The husband subsequently checked his credit card account online and discovered that the stolen card was used on September 24, 2010, at a fast food restaurant and several retail locations in the vicinity of Punta Gorda, to include Wal-Mart. Detectives obtained security video from Wal-Mart which showed a white female use one of the stolen credit cards to purchase an HP laptop computer and also receive cash back. The female suspect was then seen on video exiting the store and leaving the parking lot in a silver, four-door Volvo. Wal-Mart provided a copy of the transaction record to detectives which showed that the victim's credit card was used to make the purchase.
While investigating the four vehicle burglaries, detectives were notified of an additional victim on Mondovi Court who also had his unlocked vehicle burglarized. The victim reported that a black CD case was stolen from the vehicle.
On September 27, 2010, a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle seen in the Wal-Mart security video was located at 3500 Mondovi Ct, Unit #821, Burnt Store Isles. Officers contacted the owner of the 2001 silver Volvo who was told that police were investigating several vehicle burglaries in his subdivision and that a female suspect was seen on surveillance video exiting Wal-Mart in a vehicle identical to his Volvo. The vehicle owner was shown a photograph of the female seen in the surveillance video and stated it was his daughter, 18-year-old Crystal Hodas. Upon further questioning, he also stated that his daughter recently purchased a laptop computer.
While conducting their investigation at Hodas' residence, detectives could clearly see a laptop computer and black CD case in her room. The victim from the vehicle burglary in which the CD case was stolen was able to positively identify the black CD case as the one taken from his vehicle. The receipt from the laptop purchase at Wal-Mart was also located in the room and taken for evidence. Additional property belonging to the husband of the original victim was found in the home.
Hodas soon returned home and officers immediately recognized her as the woman seen in the Wal- Mart security video. Hodas was searched by an officer and a bag of suspected marijuana was located in her bra. Hodas was transported to the Charlotte County Jail where she was charged with five counts of Burglary (Felony), three counts of Grand Theft (Felony), two counts of Petty Theft (Misdemeanor), and one count of Possession of Marijuana - Less than 20 Grams (Misdemeanor). Hodas was held under $17,000 bond.
Punta Gorda Police Detectives are currently investigating several other vehicle burglaries in the vicinity that occurred on the same night and Hodas is a suspect in those crimes as well.