Florida & polk county , winter haven news

Multiple Arrests Made After Stolen Flowers & Trees Are Linked to Local Residence

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Release by Polk County Sheriff’s Office

This is the true story of Steal Magnolias.


A theft was reported Monday in Dundee.

Someone in a white GMC truck pulled up to a property and stole 34 azaleas and four magnolia trees (they left the red mulch).

After taking the theft report, the deputy assisted officers from Lake Hamilton Police Department in the area of Poinsettia Drive. This story is just full of flora. While there, the deputy noticed a white GMC truck.

Upon closer inspection of the truck, our deputy discovered that the rear bumper of the GMC truck was covered with dirt and red mulch. Upon even closer inspection, the deputy saw one lonely little azalea in the truck bed. Plus, there was a total of 18 freshly planted azalea plants and two magnolia trees on the property.

A woman named Ana came out of the house and said that she did not know who planted the plants. She claimed they were planted while she was sleeping. The deputy probably thought, “While you were sleeping?” But that’s a different movie.

Ana was quick to point out that her boyfriend John was the last one to drive her GMC. The bus that the woman just metaphorically threw John under might have been the reason why a detective said John appeared to be nervous and very sweaty as he denied taking the plants. He said he loaned out his girlfriend’s vehicle last night, but couldn’t recall to whom.

John was arrested for grand theft and transplanted to the Polk Pokey. If this goes to trial, the prosecutor will literally argue that the suspect planted the evidence.

A detective later met with Ana at her new home on Smith Avenue which is under construction. The detective noticed a brand new AC unit and air handler on the porch with a sticker on it showing it had been installed at a new residence on Hilltop Drive. It just so happened that the detective was recently assigned a theft case on Hilltop as well, in which an AC unit and handler were stolen. Small world.

Ana was arrested for dealing in stolen property, and she threw a guy named Andrew under the bus by saying he sold her the units (at a third of the cost).

Andrew was already in jail on an unrelated case, but he too was eventually charged.

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