Tisbury police issued an arrest warrant Monday for a man they believe stole tools and electronics from a Vineyard Haven job site.
Jaime Botelho, 47, is facing five counts, including larceny by a single scheme, larceny from a person over 60 years of age, receiving stolen property and two counts of larceny more than $250.
The investigation began last Thursday when an Island contractor came to the Tisbury police station to report tools stolen from a house under construction at Stonegate Road, Officer Jeffrey Day told the Gazette. The contractor, Luiz Oliveira of West Tisbury, said he believed the theft occurred sometime before April 19 and suspected a former worker was involved.
Officer Day said Mr. Oliveira reported that Mr. Botelho had worked for him for two months when he noticed some tools were missing from the job site, including a Makita chop saw and Bosch router bits in a plastic Bosch container valued at $800. Benjamin Stafford of FloorStiles, another contractor on the same property, told police he noticed some of his tools were missing too. And Eugene Kelley, the owner of the property, told Tisbury police that he received an invoice from Cottles Lumber for the purchase of an 18-gauge finish nailer he believed the suspect charged to his account.
Following interviews with Mr. Oliveira and others, police executed a search warrant for a West Tisbury storage facility owned by Island Star, a Beach Road convenience store that operates a package mailing service to Brazil. Officer Day said the manager of Island Star confirmed that they had received a package to mail for Mr. Botelho.
With the cooperation of the store owners and West Tisbury police, Officer Day said the package was recovered and taken to the Tisbury police station.
When the package was opened it was found to contain a large number of tools and electronics. Officer Day estimated the box contained approximately 400 pounds of tools and electronics. “I think it’s worth around $5,000 or $6,000,” he said. Mr. Oliveira and Mr. Stafford came to the police station and identified some of the tools as belonging to them.
Officer Day said police believe the suspect has returned to Brazil.
“Next time he tries to come into the United States he’ll be arrested,” he said. Officer Day said the tools are being kept by police as evidence for now, and the incident serves as a reminder to contractors to put their name or initials on expensive equipment.