5 Florida men accused of 'returning' $55,000 worth of stolen items throughout the state

<div>Photo shows the five Miami men who are accused of stealing over $55,000 worth of merchandise from a major home improvement retailer throughout Florida</div>
Photo shows the five Miami men who are accused of stealing over $55,000 worth of merchandise from a major home improvement retailer throughout Florida

MIAMI, Fla. - Five Miami men are accused of being involved in a large, statewide organized retail theft scheme where they returned stolen items, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

Maike Acosta De Armas, 47, Lazaro Santiago Acosta De Armas, 45, Yusser Echemendia Rodriguez, 42, Elias Ramos Hernandez, 48, and Honasi Diaz Santos, 47, all of Miami-Dade County are facing several felony charges.

In July 2022, FDLE agents in Miami examined a criminal complaint by the company's organized retail crime investigator. The complaint stated that the alleged operation involving the five men spanned multiple counties in Florida, resulting in thousands of dollars in losses.

FDLE identified 53 theft incidents in 13 Florida Counties, including Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Lucie, and Volusia. The group is accused of targeting an unnamed major home improvement retailer.

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The alleged scheme involved the suspects stealing items they claimed to have already purchased online. The FDLE said they also allegedly "returned" stolen merchandise to stores in different locations using receipts from online purchases.

The fraudulent systemic scheme totaled more than $55,000 in losses.

Lazaro Santiago Acosta De Armas was arrested by Miami-Dade Police earlier this year on unrelated charges and is booked in the Metro West Detention Center without bond.

Echemendia Rodriguez was arrested by the Broward Sheriff’s Office on March 25 and booked into the Broward County Jail without bond.

Maike Acosta De Armas and Ramos Hernandez were arrested on March 27 and booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Detention Center without bond.

Diaz Santos is in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections.