2 arrested in connection with a semi-trailer theft ring


POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) – Two men were charged with a total of 67 felonies after lawmakers said there was an organized cargo theft ring where several businesses were defrauded and wooden pallets and semi-trailers were taken.

PCSO detectives have charged Bobby John Herrera, Jr., 45, of West Palm Beach, and Nicholas Nigel Howard, 36, of Opa Locka, in connection with the crime. Five companies were defrauded of about $ 704,487 worth of wooden pallets and 25 semi-trailers were stolen.

The investigation began in July 2021 after seven semi-trailers were taken from two different distribution centers – Saddle Creek Logistical Services in Auburndale and the Walmart distribution center in Winter Haven – which contained a large amount of wooden pallets.

During the initial investigation, detectives said they were able to identify three semi-trucks with trailers full of pallets that had been stolen or broken into by Herrera. Detectives say the crime was caught on surveillance camera. Herrera is the owner of JCI Pallet in Plant City.

PCSO detectives visited JCI Pallet and met Herrera. When detectives showed him one of the security videos, Herrera said, “Sounds like me.”

Herrera was first arrested in September with assistance from the Plant City Police Department and transported to Hillsborough County Jail where he was later released on $ 4,000 bail.

As the investigation continued, detectives learned that Howard, the on-site manager of JCI Pallet, allegedly helped Herrera remove stolen trailers full of pallets from two different distribution centers, affecting four different companies.

Bobby John Herrera, Jr. was again arrested in Plant City and transported to Hillsborough County Jail with additional Polk County charges for:

  • Burglary of an occupied structure (F2) (13 counts)
  • Burglary of an unoccupied means of transport (F3) (15 counts)
  • Counterfeiting (F2) (2 counts)
  • Grand Theft $ 100,000 or more (F1)
  • Great flight (F2)
  • Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle (F3) (19 counts)
  • Freight theft in the trade flow (F3)
  • Using a two-way device to commit a crime (F3)
  • Conspiracy to commit grand theft (F2)

Herrera’s criminal history includes charges out of the state of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico for credit card abuse, issuing bad checks, fraud, money laundering, theft, illegal checking of money. business, forgery, conspiracy, tampering with evidence, automobile burglary, and probation violation.

Nicholas Nigel Howard was arrested at Opa Locka and transported to Miami-Dade County Jail with Polk County charges for:

  • Burglary of an occupied structure (F3) (3 counts)
  • Grand Theft Motor Vehicle (F3) (4 counts)
  • Grand flight (F2)
  • Burglary of an unoccupied means of transport (F3) (3 counts)
  • Using a two-way communication device (F3)
  • Conspiracy to commit grand theft (F3)

Howard’s criminal history includes charges of fraud, trespassing, resisting a law enforcement officer, possession of marijuana, breach of probation and failure to appear.

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