PLANTATION KEY, January 31, 2020 – Two Homestead men who stole items from a Tavernier condominium in the months following Hurricane Irma in 2017 have been convicted of burglary and petit theft and face prison time.
A six-person jury convicted Jorge Rubio, 37, and Michael Chavez, 23, on January 30 in trial before Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia after two days of testimony and three hours of deliberation. Assistant State Attorney Gail Conolly represented the state. When sentenced March 10, Chavez faces a possible term of 21.15 months to 15 years and Rubio 29.7 months to 15 years.
The theft happened on January 16, 2018, at the Ocean Pointe condominiums in Tavernier. That day, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the complex by management, who had Rubio and Chavez detained after they were caught on a condo owner’s security system rummaging through the place. The owners were alerted when the security system sent them a message alerting them to movement in the condo, and the owners called management, who found Chavez and Rubio exiting the condo.
They were part of a work crew at the condominium complex. Chavez was a supervisor and had a master key for units that required remediation, Rubio was on his crew.
Chavez and Rubio were seen on camera going through the condo’s rooms, cabinets and drawers. Rubio found a Wi game in a drawer under a television and “says something about his kids will love Wi game. Then says he’ll be playing the Wi game tonight in his crib.” At that point, Chavez saw the security camera and turned it away from them and unplugged it. Police later found a steak knife stolen from the kitchen in Rubio’s personal bag.
Chavez and Rubio told police they mistakenly went into the condo, that they were supposed to be in one nearby. But a sign on the condo’s front door clearly said "No remediation required. Do not remove furniture." Chavez and Rubio then admitted to “removing items they thought might have mold on it.” They were taken into custody.