Boca Raton Police arrest “Hotwire” burglar
Boca Raton, FL – After a lengthy investigation, detectives from the Boca Raton Police Services Department arrested a suspect in connection with multiple car burglaries in Boca Raton. He is suspected of many more crimes throughout Palm Beach County.
On October 4th, Boca Raton Police were called to investigate a car burglary. The victim said someone broke into his 2011 Jaguar and stole a brown leather briefcase, an iPad, a badge, an identification card, and a checkbook. The victim went to the Apple Store and found that the internal tracking of the iPad indicated that it was in the SW 85th Street area in Pembroke Pines.
Detectives went to the area of the iPad signal and eventually narrowed it to an apartment. Contact was made with the occupant of one apartment, David Moreau. He admitted that he bought the iPad from someone named Steven and provided investigators with a phone number. A check of phone records led investigators to another number that came back to Amanda Barrera, who was contacted by detectives, but she was uncooperative.
An internet search of Barrera’s Facebook page found she listed a relative with a similar name. While searching through past cases it was discovered that the Boca Raton Police were called to the Wyndham Hotel on October 19th to investigate a child wandering around the hallways alone. That child’s parents were Stephen Johnson, Sr. and Amanda Barrera. Many of the recent auto burglaries were near the Wyndham Hotel.
Eventually it was determined that Johnson was booking rooms through the travel website Hotwire.com and stayed at the Wyndham, the Marriott at Boca Center, the Renaissance Hotel and other locations. Each time, multiple auto burglaries were reported in the hotel parking lots and surrounding community.
On October 25th an auto burglary occurred in a neighborhood near the Best Western on North Federal Highway. Officers checking the hotel parking lot found a car belonging to Johnson. Detectives approached Johnson when he came out to his car.
In his car and another car registered to Amanda Barrera, numerous items were found, including laptop computers, GPS devices, radar detectors, cell phones, credit cards, miscellaneous papers and the stolen badge and ID card. Johnson claimed he bought the items through online auction sites. In all, well over 50 items have been recovered from Johnson. Detectives from the Boca Raton Police Services Department are now working with investigators from other agencies throughout Palm Beach County to connect Johnson to other burglaries.
Johnson, who was on probation for fraud, burglary and other crimes was arrested and charged with Burglary, Grand Theft and Unlawful Possession of a Stolen Credit Card. Other charges are still pending.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Terrance Payne at 561-620-6221.
Lake Worth, FL