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PLANTATION KEY, March 28, 2019 – A Miami man has been sentenced to 20 months in Florida State Prison after pleading no contest to stealing bottles of wine and other items from three Publix supermarkets in the Florida Keys.
Roberto Larias-DeLeon, 59, pleaded to stealing the wine from the grocery stores in Marathon and Islamorada, and food from the Key Largo Publix, on the same day, October 27, 2018. He pleaded to two counts of felony grand theft and one count of felony petit theft and was sentenced March 12 by Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia. Assistant State Attorney Luke Bovill represented the state.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the Marathon store in reference to eight bottles of Cabernet worth a combined $508.13 being stolen. A store employee followed the suspect, who turned out to be Larias-DeLeon, out to a van in the parking lot and wrote down the van’s description and license tag number. The store’s manager then called the managers of the other Florida Keys Publix stores to give them a head’s up about the suspect and his vehicle.
While deputies were still at the Marathon store, the Key Largo Publix manager called the Marathon manager and told him the suspect’s vehicle was in the Key Largo Publix parking lot. The deputy still at the Marathon store alerted Upper Keys deputies, who found Larias-DeLeon detained at the Key Largo Publix. The Key Largo Publix manager told deputies Larias-DeLeon was caught shoplifting fish and other food.
That was just after staff at the Key Largo Publix had called their counterparts at the Islamorada Publix warning them that the suspect from the Marathon theft “was possibly going there to steal wine.” Islamaroda Publix staff inventoried their wine on display and discovered nine bottles of Cabernet worth a combined $578.91 were stolen and called deputies.
All of the stolen wine was found in Larias-DeLeon’s van. He reportedly told a deputy: “What do you want me to tell you? I make a living stealing stuff and then selling it.”
The petit theft charge, for taking the food, was a felony because Larias-DeLeon has previous convictions for misdemeanor petit theft.