MIAMI – On Instagram, Aroldis Chapman shows off his love of luxury watches, thick gold chains and big diamond earrings.
Detectives said a crew of burglars who preyed on flashy social media users was preparing to target the Cuban baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees, who is earning a $15 million base salary this year.
Xandi Garcia, a convicted felon who is already facing charges in a $1.7 million burglary victimizing Eric “Da Jeweler” Mavashev, placed Chapman’s home in Davie under surveillance with the help of two accomplices, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department.
“They used social media to find victims and we used social media to find them,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.
Before Garcia, 30, of Miami Lakes, could target Chapman, a flashy Instagram user helped one of his alleged victims to identify him as the suspected burglar late last year.
His 32-year-old girlfriend, Maybel Sanchez, was allegedly using Instagram to show off some of the items that he was accused of stealing -- including Rolex watches and a diamond pendant.
To stalk their victims, detectives said the crew also used real-time Global Positioning System satellite tracking devices and other technology. Their alleged use of satellite imagery prompted Fernandez Rundle to compare their tactics to those used by seasoned police investigators.
“When the bad guys are using mobile tracking devices and putting them on innocent victims’ cars that’s a game-changer,” said Howard Rosen, the deputy chief for special prosecutions.
According to Officer Carlos Garcia, the lead detective in the investigation into the criminal organization, the crew was also growing and trafficking “large quantities” of marijuana and “expanded their criminal enterprise into burglaries, vehicle thefts and vehicle title fraud by cloning vehicle identification numbers” or VINs.
“The harvested marijuana would subsequently be processed and packaged for sale to local street-level drug dealers,” the detective wrote in his report, adding that the crew targeted competing local marijuana growers and the residences of people they believed had expensive jewelry.
Detectives said Xandi Garcia also involved his 58-year-old mother, Mirta Lora. She and her son are facing charges of structuring financial transactions and money laundering greater than $20,000. The transactions allegedly involved X and M Investment Group LLC, a Florida corporation, and the South Florida Educational Credit Union, where Lora had an account.
Sanchez, his girlfriend, is facing three counts of dealing in stolen property.
Detectives identified the other crew members as Fabian Garcia, Yennys Perez, Daniel Pacheco, Jossie Pintado-Martell, Orielys Sosa and David Alcade, who officers said financed and supervised marijuana grow houses in Colorado.
According to detectives, Fabian Garcia and Perez had been spying on Chapman and surveilling his home in Davie.
The long list of charges
Xandi Garcia, Fabian Garcia, Valle, Sosa, Pacheco, Sanchez and Alcade are facing charges of racketeering and conspiring to racketeer. Xandi Garcia, Valle and Sosa are also facing charges of grand theft of a firearm.
Perez and Sosa are facing a charge of possession of a place for trafficking in controlled substances.
Sosa is also facing charges of trafficking in cannabis, possession of a burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and two counts of grand theft in the first degree.
Pacheco and Valle are also facing burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and two counts of grand theft in the first degree.
Pintado-Martell is facing charges of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, conspiracy to commit a burglary of a dwelling, grand theft in the third degree and conspiracy to commit grand theft in the third degree.
Xandi Garcia is also facing six counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, four counts of grand theft in the first degree and two counts of grand theft in the third degree.
Fabian Garcia is also facing charges of grand theft in the third degree and two counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling.