NAPLES, Fla. - Southwest Florida's own version of the "Bling Ring" busted! Special agents say a group from the east coast masterminded the whole thing, making off with millions of dollars in cash and jewelry from lavish neighborhoods in Collier and Miami-Dade Counties. What's even more interesting is how this gang of thieves allegedly blended into those communities in broad daylight.
A Porsche or BMW ouldn't seem at all unusual on Gordon Drive in Naples. There are plenty of them. But, behind the wheel of one pricey car was a thief sizing up homes to rob. Julie Kukk's home was one of them. "They took our pillow cases and dumped the jewelry box in the middle of the bed and they went through every drawer," Kukk said.
Investigators say Nancy Aguilar, her husband Salvador and her brother Idalberto Arias, all from Miami, organized a burglary ring. They'd go between Miami-Dade and Collier Counties ransacking homes, and selling at least 2.1 million dollars of diamond rings, rolexes and gold coins at a dummy pawn shop in Miami. Investigators say they even stole a real stuffed jaguar from one home.
They've been connected to 30 burglaries between 2011 and 2012, 11 of them in upscale neighborhoods in Naples. Investigators say the suspects drove flashy cars to blend in. "They had some pretty nice cars," Kukk said. "A navy blue Porsche Cayenne and I think they also owned a white BMW X5."
According to Special Agents, the suspects stole between $20,000 and $100,000 in jewelry and watches from Kukk's home. "I came in and the doors were cracked," she said. "They dropped many things going outside so I think we walked in, in them middle of it."
Despite the arrests, she hasn't recovered what was taken. "We did drive to Coral Gables and we did try to go through seeing if any of it was left," Kukk said, "but, they melted everything, almost immediately. I was angry. Most people feel violated, but, I didn't feel violated. I was mad."
Three more people were arrested in this case on racketeering and other charges. This may have you wondering, could something like this happen to my home? Call the Collier County Sheriff's Office. Their Crime Prevention Unit does free home security checks to spot things that might make your home a target.