Breakthrough in mail theft cases in Collier County lead to arrest - 96.9 WINK FM

Breakthrough in mail theft cases in Collier County lead to arrest


A breakthrough in cases about mail thefts in Collier County may have happened after a suspicious vehicle stopped on the side of the road on Monday.

In 2022 the Collier County Sheriff’s Office investigated several mail theft reports near Platt Road and Immokalee Road. The investigations led to seven near-by mail theft incidents since Dec. 18, 2022. CCSO detectives also identified the suspects vehicle.

“We never stop working to keep our county safe,” Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “This investigation and arrest by our hard-working deputies and detectives protects victims not only here in Collier County but across the state as well.”

At about 10 p.m. on Monday, a gray Jeep Wrangler was seen by a deputy stopped on the side of the road near 13th Street SW and Golden Gate Boulevard. The Jeep matched the description of the vehicle suspected in connection to the mail thefts.

When the deputy began nearing the vehicle, the driver started driving away. Then the deputy initiated a traffic stop because the driver failed to obey traffic control devices.

The driver, Juan Carlos Benitez, 51, of Miami, had a suspended license and was taken into custody.

What was found by CCSO in his vehicle. CREDIT: CCSO

When deputies searched Benitez’s vehicle, they found hundreds of pieces of mail with addresses in Collier, Lee, and Miami-Dade counties, along with numerous credit cards belonging to other people.

According to reports, an investigation by CCSO detectives revealed the vehicle was part of a more extensive U.S. Postal Service mail thefts investigation on the east coast of Florida and Collier County.

Benitez was booked into the Collier County jail on multiple felonies, including mail theft, possession of personal identification and possession of cocaine.

During booking, Benitez was also charged with possession of meth and smuggling contraband into a fail facility after deputies found meth in his underwear.


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