Some good news and some good police work. I wanted to share this right away to all of you. You should feel proud of our Police force. Here from Chief Weschler:
On February 24, 2014, a home invasion occurred at 960 17th Avenue South in Aqualane Shores. The incident was very similar to two home invasions that took place in Collier County. I contacted Sheriff Rambosk and we agreed to work together to combat these crimes. Detectives began meeting and comparing information that was obtained at the various crime scenes.
On March 4th, another home invasion occurred in Collier County, and the Estuary robbery took place on March 11th.
I organized a press conference and Sheriff Rambosk joined me as we advised the media and the public of the rash of home invasions. Naples Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), FBI, Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Marco Island Police Department investigators began meeting to coordinate efforts and process evidence. FDLE and the FBI were instrumental in expediting responses from crime labs and the development of social media evidence.
Local persons of interest living in Immokalee were identified and investigators focused on this group of individuals.
Naples Police Department developed an internal task force consisting of one sergeant and ten officers and the primary assignment was to provide high visibility at all entrances to the city and to covertly patrol the neighborhoods.
On April 3, 2014, a home invasion with similar methods of operation was committed in Quail West. The group of detectives that had been working together was officially revealed to the public as the Collier Home Invasion Task Force. Investigators from all agencies, including Naples Police Department detectives Pablo DeBien and Bijan Razilou, met each day at a CCSO office and worked the cases together.
Sheriff Rambosk and I, along with agency heads from the other agencies, agreed that the Collier Home Invasion Task Force would provide one unified media response instead of each agency PIO sending out reports. The task force press reports were approved by all agencies prior to release, and the CCSO Public Information Office distributed the information.
On April 30, 2014, a home invasion occurred in Windermere, Florida. The subject description and method of operation was very similar to the Collier County crimes. Collier Home Invasion Task Force investigators, including two NPD detectives, drove to Windermere and briefed their investigators of the robberies in Collier County and the City of Naples.
The Collier Home Invasion Task Force kept developing more information and it became apparent that our local persons of interest were involved in the crimes. I cannot discuss the specifics, but many forms of surveillance were initiated and it became apparent that another home invasion was being planned in Orange County.
Task force members, including our two Naples Police Department detectives, immediately travelled to Orange County and met with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigators. Heavy surveillance was established and the subjects were located in Orlando. On Monday, May 12th, the surveillance teams followed the home invasion subjects and placed them under arrest just prior to another robbery taking place. The subjects were armed, clad in black clothing, and they had just cut the fence with plans to proceed to the residence and terrorize another family.
Naples Police Department detectives assisted with the investigation after the arrests, and they continue to comb through the extensive evidence in an attempt to implicate the subject in the two City of Naples crimes. The investigation is still active and the statewide prosecutors requested that we limit the release of information to the public. A thorough press release will be organized as soon as we receive approval.
I am extremely proud of all of the members of the Naples Police Department and the entire Collier Home Invasion Task Force. The efforts of all agencies working together led to the arrests of the subjects and thwarted yet another home invasion in Orange County. This is a text book example of agency heads and investigators working cohesively to end one of the largest crime sprees that has taken place recently in the State of Florida.
Chief Tom Weschler
Naples Police Department