MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade Police are searching for more victims in the case of a man accused of burglarizing various homes in the Westchester area of Miami-Dade County.
And there is a bizarre twist. Police say he used his half-brother’s pool company pickup truck in the burglaries.
Detectives have released surveillance video so more victims might come forward.
Officers arrested Charles Eric Brand, 44, on April 29th on charges of unoccupied burglary and criminal mischief over $200. He is charged with three burglaries and battery on a law enforcement officer. Records show he has been arrested three times before for burglary.
Investigators believe, during the various burglaries in the area, he may have been using a white Nissan pick-up truck with a company name of Mermaid Pools & Spa Service & Repairs.
Police described the car as having blue business markings on both doors with the company name on it. The car had the license plate number “360YLF.”
Officers said he did not have permission from his half-brother to use the truck. The owner of the pool company told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench he is very upset and had no idea his half-brother was committing those crimes.
“This was not very nice that he did that,” said Mike Stockwell, the company owner. “I feel very bad for the people that he did that to. I did not consent to this and I do not condone this.I had no idea that he was doing this at all. I gave him the keys to my vehicle and so I couldn’t report it stolen. All in all, he had the truck three weeks and I didn’t know where it was. I used to have tracking devices on my vehicles. I don’t anymore.”
His half brothers was also an alleged victim.
“That’s why we need people to come forward if they think they have been victimized,” Stockwell told D’Oench. “My half brother even victimized me after I tried to help him. He broke in to my home and stole money. I think he committed the burglaries because he wanted to get money for drugs.”
Surveillance video, released by police, shows a man that looks like Brand pulling into the Bottega Child Development Center on Bird Road and SW 59th Avenue on April 25th.
According to the center, he didn’t take anything, but he got into the center by breaking a window. He triggered an alarm and took off. The facility’s director, Sylvia DeArmas, was very concerned.
“This is a preschool. We service children and families and there is nothing here of value except for toys and that someone can actually come into a building that hosts children here is beyond my thoughts,” said DeArmas. “That’s never happened before and this is why we want to reach out to the community so that the people who do know this man to please come forward and testify against him so that she doesn’t do this anymore.”
“I feel invaded and I get emotional when I think about it,” she said.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Daniel Ferrin said they don’t have an exact number of burglaries at this time but have other information.
“We do know that detectives have gotten some information where they’ve seen this vehicle at other residences where he would park and possibly go into backyards attempting to steal whatever he could get his hands on,” said Ferrin.
A check of records shows that Brand was arrested 10 times between 1993 and 1999. Three of those times were for burglaries. He was also arrested twice for grand theft of vehicles. He was also arrested twice for possessing cocaine and marijuana.
Police said Brand also broke into a home in Westchester at 10:15 a.m. on April 25th. The homeowner woke up when she heard some noises and screamed, “What are you doing here?” Brand reportedly fled with a pillowcase with items in it.
Police are asking anyone who had seen the vehicle in their neighborhood before April 29th, to please contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471- TIPS.