Polk County, Florida-- Three men have been linked to over 70 citrus trailer thefts that occurred all over Polk County between 2010 and 2013.
According to Polk County Sheriff's officials, brothersRuben and Richard Ramirez, 39 and 31-years-old, worked alongside 60-year-old Donald Mosley to steal the trailers from various citrus packing houses, and then sell the metal to scrap dealers in Polk, Hillsborough and Hardee Counties.
As of Friday, April 12, deputies say a total of 77 trailers have been confirmed as stolen from businesses in Bartow, Lake Wales, Winter Haven, Davenport, Lake Hamilton, Lakeland,Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Wauchula, and Labelle.
Companies targeted include Peace River Packing, Florida's Natural, Dun-D Citrus, W.G. Roe, Ingram Grove Service, and Citra Source- and officials say many of the trailers had not yet been reported as stolen.
The extent of the trio's thefts came to light through an investigation, which launched after Ruben and Mosley were arrested on April 3.
Deputies say Winter Haven Police snapped photos of them towing a trailer that was reported stolen by River Gold Citrus on March 17, and finally arrested them in the middle of another theft attempt at the same spot weeks later.
Ruben and Mosley reportedly tried to say they were taking the trailer for repairs, but their use of spray paint and tape to cover identification and vin numbers revealed their ruse.
After being booked at the Polk County Jail, deputies say Mosley confessed to three years of similar thefts, and brought the Ramirez brothers down with him.
They've been hit with over 70 charges including grand theft, dealing in stolen property and giving false verification to a pawn dealer.
The investigation continues.