Construction worker stole jewelry while repairing an Irma-damaged home, cops say

By David Goodhue

October 19, 2018

A worker on a construction crew doing repairs on an Islamorada house damaged during Hurricane Irma stole the homeowner’s jewelry and sold it to two pawnshops, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office report.

Michael Joseph Gibson, 30, was arrested on a warrant Thursday on grand theft, felony fraud and misdemeanor petit theft charges. He was released on a $22,500 bond Thursday night. He could not be reached for comment.

Detective Benjamin Elmore stated in his report that Gibson stole a gold band ring from the homeowner’s jewelry box on Oct. 2 that was valued at $200 and a 14-karat gold diamond ring valued at $6,000 on Oct. 5.

Gibson and two other members of the construction crew began working on the East Carroll Street house shortly after the Category 4 Irma struck the Keys in September 2017, according to the arrest affidavit.

On the day the gold band was stolen, the homeowner told police she did not know the workers were scheduled to be at the house, which wasn’t unusual, Elmore stated in his report. She found out from her next-door neighbors that the workers were there that day. The diamond ring was stolen while the homeowner was at traffic court, Elmore stated.

Elmore contacted a Miami-Dade County detective, provided him with the names of the construction crew and asked him to check if any of them sold jewelry to any mainland pawnshops. The detective discovered that Gibson pawned the diamond ring on Oct. 6 at the South Dade Jewelry and Gun Pawn Shop on Krome Avenue in Homestead, according to Elmore’s report. The pawnshop confirmed to Elmore it had the ring.

Elmore found the gold ring at Coral Financial Jewelry, Pawn and Guns in Key Largo Wednesday. The shop’s owner put a hold on the ring when police told him it was stolen.