FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 31-year-old man accused of stealing stole dozens of key fobs from rental car companies at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport appeared in court Wednesday.
BSO spokesman Carey Codd said in a news release that the investigation started in late 2021 when an unknown man stole more than 100 key fobs from rental car companies at the airport.
Detectives later discovered that on several occasions in 2022, the same burglar committed similar crimes.
Codd said BSO Airport District detectives were finally able to identify Armando Martinez as the suspect in the burglaries in December 2022.
He was taken into custody Tuesday on 136 counts of burglary of a conveyance and six counts of grand theft.
According to Judge Mindy Glazer, 19 vehicle key fobs were stolen with an estimated value of $5700.
A manager at Alamo Rent-A-Car in Fort Lauderdale told Local 10 News that surveillance video caught a man removing the key fobs from inside cars at the ready line.
Martinez didn’t stop at just one rental car center that day, he also visited Hertz Car Rental where authorities say he stole 15 key fobs and then 48 more at Avis-Budget Rental Car, all in Fort Lauderdale.
After further investigation, detectives said Martinez was a repeat offender after finding that a total of 49 key fobs were stolen in July 2022.
“Looks like it’s the same type of incidents going on at Fort Lauderdale Airport as well,” said Glazer.
Glazer said Martinez was not only stealing but reselling the key fobs for $20 to $25.
Authorities said it was airport surveillance that led police to a worker, who was seen talking to Martinez and was later identified in a photo lineup.
Investigators said that he allegedly stole over $32,000 worth of key fobs.
According to detectives, Martinez works for a transporter company that does business with several rental car companies.
Detectives say Martinez confessed to the crimes and turned himself into the Broward’s Sheriff Office.
Glazer ordered that Martinez should stay away from the Miami International Airport rental car center and set his bond at $680,000.