wplg logo

Detectives foil wooden pallets theft scheme with link to Opa-locka

Polk County detectives foiled a cargo theft scheme that allegedly involved a man from Opa-locka.

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – A Miami-Dade County man is facing criminal charges after detectives accused him and his boss of running a conspiracy to steal cargo from five businesses, including Walmart, authorities announced on Monday.

Detectives accused Nicholas Howard, of Opa Locka, of stealing about $936,000 in wooden pallets and semi-trailers from May to July, while he was the on-site manager of JCI Pallet.

“This type of theft negatively impacts the consumer when businesses have to raise costs to account for this type of loss,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement.

Nicholas Howard, 36, of Opa Locka, is facing charges related to a theft conspiracy in Polk County. (MDCR)

Detectives said surveillance video shows Herrera, 36, driving the JCI Pallet’s 2015 Freightliner semi-truck during a heist. They also listed his co-conspirator as Bobby Herrera, Jr., 45, of West Palm Beach, the owner of JCI Pallet at 1709 Turkey Creek Rd., in Plant City.

In one of the thefts, detectives said a company in Alabama trusted Herrera to deliver wooden pallets to Florida, but he didn’t deliver the cargo and submitted a fraudulently signed bill. Herrera and Howard are facing charges in Polk County.

Herrera is facing charges of grand theft, 19 counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle, 13 counts of burglary of an occupied structure, 15 counts of burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, two counts of forgery, theft of cargo in a stream of commerce, use of a two-way device to commit a felony and conspiracy to commit grand theft.

Bobby Herrera, Jr., 45, of West Palm Beach, the owner of JCI Pallet, is facing charges in a scheme to defraud businesses, police said. (HC)

Howard is facing charges of three counts of burglary of an occupied structure, four counts of grand theft motor vehicle, grand theft, three counts of a burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, use of a two-way communication device, and conspiracy to commit grand theft.

Authorities recovered all of the stolen trailers, deputies said.


About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.