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Miami man charged in burglaries of boats in St. Johns County

Deputies say they got 13 complaints about electronics stripped from watercraft

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A South Florida man suspected in a series of burglaries at St. Johns County boat storage facilities has been arrested in Miami, authorities said Friday.

Mizael Alfonso, 45, of Miami, was booked Thursday on two out-of-county warrants into the Miami-Dade County jail, where he remains in custody in lieu of $170,500 while he awaits transfer to St. Johns County.

The arrest stems from complaints about a May 15 break-in at the St. Johns Boat & RV Storage followed by another burglary July 18 at Southeastern RV & Boat Storage, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. 

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In each case, someone entered the facility by cutting a hole in the fence and, once inside, stripped several vessels of valuable marine electronics including GPS devices.

The stolen items were worth a combined total of $63,000.

Using surveillance video gleaned from the most recent case, detectives noticed a vehicle near the facility carrying a tag out of Miami-Dade County. Deputies said several of the stolen items were put up for sale online.

The case led detectives to Miami where they met with Alfonso. At first, deputies said, he denied having anything to do with the thefts, but his story changed after stolen goods were found in his girlfriend’s truck.

News4Jax spoke with a victim, who said he was tipped off to the burglary by a friend who noticed someone had broken into his boat. Jarrod Dhaemers said whoever did it knew what they were doing.

"There was no vandalized areas," Dhaemers said. "It was clean, it was quick, it was in-and-out. They knew what they were doing and they knew what they were going for."

Though insurance coverage will make sure Dhaemer's property is replaced, he said he's not taking any chances with it happening again.

"(I'm) going to try to monitor the boat a little bit more, secure some things," he said. "You know, we had a few suggestions -- setting up some personal cameras."

Alfonso is expected to face charges including burglary, grand theft and property damage.


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