Sarasota News Leader

03/21/2014

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The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested six suspects during Operation Recommit, "an investigation into an orga- nized crime ring led by a career criminal" who was stealing goods and selling them on the street as well as to pawn shops, the office has announced. "The ringleader, Michael Rowles, has 22 previous felony convictions and was most recently released from Florida State Prison in February," a news release says. Within days of his release, members of the Sheriff's Office's Tactical Unit learned that Rowles "was direct- ing several subjects to systematically commit thefts and make fraudulent returns of stolen merchandise," the release adds. The result was a collaborative investiga- tion involving the TAC Unit, Intelligence Unit, Criminal Investigations Section and Special Investigations Section, it continues. Surveillance confirmed the group's involve- ment in criminal activity over a period of several weeks, which included thefts at mul- tiple Walmart, Home Depot, Publix, CVS, Walgreens, Best Buy and Sweetbay locations from Sarasota to Venice, the release continues. Stolen property recovered through Operation Recommit was gathered together by Sheriff's Office staff. Photo courtesy of the Sheriff's Office SIX PEOPLE ARRESTED AS A RESULT OF OPERATION RECOMMIT CRIME BLOTTER This vehicle was seized during Operation Recommit. Photo courtesy of the Sheriff's Office

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