A Honduran man was arrested on Tuesday in Miami for committing a string of burglaries nearly 200 miles away in Polk County, Florida – including stealing a urn containing a former cop’s ashes.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the suspect, 27-year-old Daniel Antonio Nolasco Cardona, came to the country on a tourist visa in February to carry out the string of robberies.
It’s believed that Cardona rented cars in Miami and then drove to counties in central and north Florida to carry out the crimes. So far he’s been attached to 14 other burglaries in at least nine other counties.
It was a string of four robberies in Polk County on March 28 that brought his crime spree to an end, when detectives were spurred into action by Cardona stealing the urn of former Lakeland Police Officer Curtis ‘Buddy’ Newsome.
Daniel Antonio Nolasco Cardona, 27 (pictured), was arrested on Tuesday for a string of burglaries in Florida
Cardona robbed four residences in Polk County, Florida on March 28 – including stealing the urn (left) of former Lakeland Police Officer Curtis ‘Buddy’ Newsome (right)
‘They specifically picked neighborhoods that were high-end communities — very nice homes,’ Sheriff Judd said.
Security cameras in the neighborhood where Cardona stole the golden urn captured his license plate number, which detectives were able to trace back to Miami.
They then staked out the Miami car rental lot, waiting for Cardona to return to commit more burglaries. They caught him on Tuesday, and found several of the stolen items – including the urn – in the car that a friend dropped him off in.
At a tearful press conference on Wednesday, officers returned the urn to Newsome’s widow Michelle.
‘The sheriff said this was a miracle,’ Mrs Newsome said. ‘It’s miraculous, and I agree 100 percent. I knew God was in control. I knew Sheriff Grady Judd was in control. There are no words. “Thank you” doesn’t seem adequate enough.’
At a tearful press conference on Wednesday, officers reunited Newsome’s widow (in white jacket) with her late husband’s urn
Michelle Newsome is seen receiving the urn from one of the detectives who helped track Cardona down
Cardona has been charged with four counts of criminal mischief, four counts of burglary of a dwelling, four counts of conspiracy to commit burglary of a dwelling, four counts of unlawful two-way communication device. two counts of grand theft and one count of destruction of a monument.
He was scheduled to have his first court appearance on Tuesday.
Since Cardona is in the country on a visa, Sheriff Judd said he’s asked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to possibly look into deportation after he’s faced his charges in Florida.
Judd believes that Cardona is part of a larger ring that’s carrying out burglaries.
Cops were able to use surveillance footage to determine that the white minivan Cardona was driving at the time was rented in Miami
They determined that Cardona rented cars in Miami and then drove to north and central Florida to commit more than a dozen burglaries. Above are the nine counties he has been accused of committing burglaries in
When they arrested Cardona, they found him carrying several IDs and passports, some of them fake
Above is some of the other items that Cardona stole in his string of burglaries
Buddy Newsome served with the Lakeland Police Department for 28 years before retiring more than a decade ago. He died of cancer in 2015, and was a childhood friend of Sheriff Judd.
‘Buddy Newsome and I actually grew up in the same area of Lakeland. He was a few years younger than me, but I watched him grow into a great police officer and a wonderful man,’ Judd said.
Judd added: ‘I’ve been in this business my entire adult life. This is one of the more special events. We deliver so much bad news from this podium. It’s exciting to be able to deliver some good news.’