The Sarasota Police Department said Officer Jason Frank was on patrol on May 7 when he observed a red Chevrolet van parked on the sidewalk in the 700 block of S. Tamiami Trail.
Frank pulled up behind the suspicious vehicle and as he made contact with the driver, Manuel De Jesus Tena, 49, the officer observed that the driver was very nervous, according to a SPD release.
SPD said Frank observed a large spool of black cable in the back of the van. He also could see similar cable hanging from a telephone pole that appeared to have been cut.
Frank asked Tena if he was ok, and why he was parked on the sidewalk. According to SPD, Tena turned and pointed at the spool of cable and stated, “I stole it, I was going to try to sell it. I’ve been out of work for three years.” Wire cutters were found in the pocket of Tena’s shorts.
Tena was arrested for Grand Theft. The fiber optic cable is 24,624 feet long and is valued at $6.00 per-foot. Total value in cable was in excess of $150,000; however the cable was recovered by the officers. Tena was charged with Grand Theft (in excess of $100,000) and Criminal Mischief (damage to property in excess of $1,000).