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Release Number: 18-776
- For Immediate Release:
- Public Affairs Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
- November 15, 2018
- Contact Person:
- Public Affairs Office : firstname.lastname@example.org
Hole In The Wall Burglaries
To date, the Hole in the Wall group is suspected of being involved in at least 14 business burglaries with a suspected property loss of $830,000.
- November 1, 2018
- Time: 12:00 AM
On July 3, 2018, a business burglary occurred at Dental Pros of Tampa Bay, 8529 Gunn Hwy, and Red Carpet Liquor, 8533 Gunn Hwy. The suspects forced entry into the Dental Pros by making a small hole on the exterior of the business and damaged the alarm panels in the bathroom ceiling. Once inside, the suspects made another hole into the wall, adjacent to Red Carpet Liquor. The suspects entered Red Carpet, pulled down the alarm panels and damaged the computer tower that was used to review the camera system.
After this incident, detectives learned burglaries with this same M.O. were being committed throughout the state. As a result, a meeting was held on 7/17/18 and representatives from HCSO District 3, HCSO District 4, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Manatee County Sheriff's Office, and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office were present to discuss the hole in the wall burglaries that occurred in their jurisdictions.
Through investigative means, detectives learned that the suspects were traveling in a stolen U-Haul that was later recovered in Miami and was empty. Detectives were able to identify trailing vehicles and possible suspects that were seen traveling with the U-Haul.
On 9/9/18, a deputy observed Remberto Gonzalez and Leandro Leyva parked across from the International Diamond Center, within a closed business. A business burglary occurred at the International Diamond Center where the suspects made a small hole in the wall within the stairwell and into the control room closet. The suspects tore down the alarm and camera wires. Remberto Gonzalez and Leandro Leyva were arrested for loitering and prowling at that time. A vehicle search warrant was authored and executed on Gonzalez’ vehicle. Alexi Espinosa’s Driver's License and DCF card were found within the vehicle.
On 9/12/18, representatives from the HCSO, Tampa Police Department, FDLE Sarasota, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, and Bradenton Police Department met with Statewide Prosecutor Rita Peters to discuss the hole in the wall burglaries. During this meeting, a DNA hit, of Jorge Gonzalez, linked the earliest burglary in the region to February of 2017. Representatives from those agencies shared intelligence and discussed operational strategies. The cases were adopted by Rita Peters.
On 09/29/18, the HCSO worked with Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and FDLE to catch four of the suspects during a business burglary of a Family Dollar. Michel Rodriguez, Yanet Fernandez, Alexi Ludena Espinosa and Jorge Luis Adan Gonzalez were arrested and charged with Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure, Grand Theft, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Tampering with Evidence in Polk County for the burglary.
To date, the Hole in the Wall group is suspected of being involved in at least 14 business burglaries (7 confirmed) with a suspected property loss of $830,000 ($668,183 confirmed) in central Florida alone. In addition, Alexi Espinosa, Michel Rodriguez, Jorge Gonzalez, and Remberto Gonzalez are all facing RICO charges. There is an active warrant for Leandro Leyva for Burglary and RICO charges. Detectives are continuing to conduct follow up investigations into the group for burglaries throughout the region and more charges are likely. The coordinated effort and intelligence sharing of law enforcement agencies throughout the region should be commended and was crucial to the success of this operation.