Michigan man charged in burglary

OKEECHOBEE — A Michigan man is being held on bond in the Okeechobee County Jail after his arrest for allegedly stealing a John Deere 825i XUV Gator, then trying to sell it to a local detective.

Detective Mark Shireman, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO, said he entered into an agreement to buy the XUV from Jeremiah Jerome Hayes. The agreed-upon price was $4,000, stated the detective’s arrest report.

The Gator is valued at $15,000.

Jeremiah Hayes

Jeremiah Hayes, 18

Hayes, 18, Arbor Way Road, Southfield, Mich., was then arrested Sept. 7 on felony charges of burglary of an occupied structure and grand theft. He was also charged with resisting a law enforcement officer without violence, which is a misdemeanor.

Hayes is being held on $16,000 bond.

According to the detective’s report, Hayes cut the lock on a fence at Everglades Farm Equipment, 820 U.S. 98 N., sometime over the Labor Day weekend. After removing the lock, he apparently entered the property and stole the Gator. He then drove it to a wooded area a short distance away from the business, added the detective.

The theft was reported Tuesday, Sept. 6, to OCSO Deputy Ryane Ammons, and later turned over to Detective Shireman. Photos of the stolen Gator were then posted on social media sites.stolen-vehicle-2

A local citizen then contacted the detective Wednesday, Sept. 7, and said they saw the stolen Gator on Craigslist.

“I made contact with the seller and made an agreement to buy the Gator via text message,” stated Detective Shireman. “The agreement was made for me to purchase the Gator for $4,000 and pick it up at (an address of) N.W. Eighth St. in Okeechobee. This is only a few blocks west of Everglades Farm Equipment.”

Several OCSO detectives, along with Detective Shireman, canvassed the area and found the Gator stashed in some woods between that N.W. Eighth Street address and the farm equipment business.

Some of the detectives then hid in the woods and waited for the perpetrator to come get the Gator.

“The perpetrator did return and sat in the driver’s seat, as observed by deputies, and was confronted. The defendant fled, and after a foot chase was apprehended,” Detective Shireman explained.

The XUV was recovered.stolen-vehicle-3

Arraignment for Hayes has been set for Oct. 21 at 10 a.m.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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