Charges Filed Against Theft Ringleader Who Stole Half Million From Home Depot

Charges Filed Against Theft Ringleader Who Stole Half Million From Home Depot

Organized theft ringleader had charges filed against him for stealing nearly a half million from Home Depots across the state

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
March 20, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—The Florida Attorney General announced criminal charges would be filed against the leader of an organized theft ring for stealing almost half a million dollars in heavy equipment from Home Depot.

Jereome Downing's scheme resulted in more than $460,000 in losses to Home Depot, and additional thousands of dollars in losses to civilians purchasing equipment from him.

Downing sent straw purchasers—people to buy products in his stead—to Home Depot with prepaid credit cards to rent heavy equipment including stump grinders, trenches, boom lifts, and excavators for a period of 24 to 48 hours.

Afterward, he immediately listed the tools on Facebook Marketplace for discounted prices, posing as a wholesaler.

“This scheme not only resulted in major losses to Home Depot, but also losses for innocent civilians buying stolen rental equipment under false pretenses," Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement Wednesday morning.

"Thanks to the many law enforcement partners in this case and our Statewide Prosecutors, this defendant’s final rent is now due, and he faces serious felony charges.”

Investigated by the Miami-Dade and Port St. Lucie Police Departments, along with other local jurisdictions, they discovered that Downing had hit Home Depots in nine different judicial circuits across the state, stealing and selling a total of 21 different pieces of rental equipment.

He is now facing multiple felony counts, including one count of organized scheme to defraud $50,000 or more, one count of conspiracy to commit organized scheme to defraud $50,000 or more, one count of fraudulent use of personal identification, and 21 counts of unlawful sublease of a motor vehicle.

This is not the first time Florida Home Depots have been targeted by organized theft rings. At the end of February, three thieves were charged for stealing more than $100,000 from hardware stores across South and Central Florida. Before that, Pastor and theft-ring organizer Robert Dell stole more than $1.4 million from Tampa Home Depots.


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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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