Two Sarasota men are facing charges after investigators say they stole jewelry from Sarasota County stores last month.
Employees of the Macy’s at the Mall at University Town Center reported the theft of a $5,500 gold Cuban link bracelet on Sept. 29 after a man asked the sales associate to hold one of the bracelets to “feel the weight,” then took off out of the store, according to the sheriff’s office.
The employee who was working the jewelry counter at the time described a suspect was wearing a red hooded shirt, jeans and having multiple tattoos. They specifically recalled three crosses and the word “Chicago” tattooed on his neck, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Detectives looked at surveillance footage and distributed the suspect’s description and photo to law enforcement. A deputy recognized the description and helped identify the suspect in the theft as 20-year-old Blake Jewell, according to the sheriff’s office. He was also identified by the store employee in a photo lineup.
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Jewell was arrested on Tuesday on an unrelated warrant and connected to the theft, the sheriff’s office said.
Detectives also discovered Yestel Guerrero-Mata, 18, was involved in the theft and was connected to a similar incident at a watch store in the 4100 block of South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, on Sept. 25, other thefts from Macy’s and other stores in Sarasota and Charlotte counties, according to the sheriff’s office. An investigator recognized him in surveillance video from the watch store from unrelated investigations.
A store employee who reported the theft of the watch, valued at $495, identified Guerrero-Mata in a photo lineup as the person who stole the watch, according to a probable cause affidavit. In this incident, Guerrero-Mata tried on a watch and asked to see a mirror. When the employee went to grab it, Guerrero-Mata ran.
Jewell is charged with one count of grand theft and four counts of violation of probation. He is being held without bond.
Guerrero-Mata is charged with one count of grand theft and accessory after the fact. He is being held on a $7,500 bond.
Additional charges may be pending as the investigation is ongoing, according to the sheriff’s office.