A/C theft suspect arrested in Boca Raton
On Saturday, June 13, 2015, a city resident observed a person working on the A/C unit of a home that was for sale. The resident approached the man and the suspect told him that he was changing the Freon. Since it appeared the suspect did not have the proper tools, the resident returned home and called the Boca Raton Police Services Department. While officers were responding, an off-duty Boca Raton Police officer spotted someone carrying A/C parts from another house listed for sale. This house was less than 1,000 feet from the previous location. When the off-duty Boca Raton officer asked the suspect what he was doing, he quickly jumped into his black pickup truck and fled the area.
A Boca Raton patrol officer was able to recover a fingerprint from the A/C unit at one of the crime scenes. The print belonged to Mitchell Hatfield. A check of records confirmed Hatfield drove a back Silverado pickup truck, the same vehicle seen by both the resident and the off-duty Boca Raton Police officer. Detectives checked a property database and found that in the last year, Hatfield sold nearly $50,000 worth of scrap metal, including A/C parts.
Boca Raton Police investigators, working with the Palm Beach South Metro Task Force and BSO, were able to catch Hatfield stealing more A/C parts on Thursday, June 18, 2015. The off-duty Boca Raton officer and resident who witnessed the thefts were able to positively identify Hatfield as the person they observed stealing the A/C parts. Hatfield has been charged with two counts of Burglary, two counts of Grand Theft and two counts of Criminal Mischief.