Caught on tape: Cops discuss charging man despite having no evidence

Audiotape is expected to have an impact in the case of truck theft ring suspect Jose Olivas
Audiotape is expected to have an impact in the case of truck theft ring suspect Jose Olivas

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – A tape obtained by Local 10 recorded two detectives saying they believe a man jailed in a high-profile murder case is innocent. However, those same detectives, unaware they are on tape, talk about charging another suspect with a felony, even though they don't have evidence to support it.

Coral Springs police detectives questioned truck theft ring suspect Jose Olivas, trying to get a confession out of him.

"Let's just ask him straight up, did he have anything to do with the theft of three trucks from our corporate park," said one officer.  

Detective David Young, who is translating the interrogation, asks Olivas the question in Spanish and Olivas answers.

"He says no, he didn't bring anybody to the city to steal any trucks," Young said.

After nearly an hour the detectives get nothing of value from Olivas, who is suspected of being a ringleader in the theft of 300 trucks from Miami to Coral Springs.

"They're very frustrated because he's not giving them the answers they are looking for," explained Olivas' attorney, Tara Intriago.

The detectives leave the room but a microphone remains live as they walk into a bathroom to talk about it.

"At some point you've got to squeeze him," says Young, unaware he's on tape. "So you've got him on two auto thefts?"

"I'm going to charge him with a third one," says Sgt. Randy Rosenberg.

Rosenberg says all he has in the third case is phone evidence that Olivas was in the city at the time another vehicle was stolen.

"Is that enough? Probably not, but f--k it, I'll charge him with it anyway," Rosenberg says. "It's just an add-on charge."

Intriago, who received the full audiotape in discovery in the case, said she was shocked when she heard those words.

"They say they don't have enough but f--k it, they're going to charge him anyway," she said. "I'm listening to how they're going to take away his rights."

Coral Springs police spokeswoman Carla Kmiotek noted, however, that the third charge was never actually filed. He was charged with two counts of grand theft, one of which was dropped by prosecutors.

"It's two detectives in a restroom talking ... as you may joke with your co-workers in the news crew in a van on the way down here," she said to a Local 10 reporter.

Intriago said she intends to use the audiotape at trial for Olivas.