Cruise line employee charged with burglarizing 24 passengers’ homes
By Dale M. King
A vacation planner for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) has been arrested for planning and committing burglaries at 24 homes of passengers while they were on their cruises, according to an affidavit from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Arrested was Bethsaida Sandoval, 38, of Miami, who has been charged with burglary to a dwelling, racketeering and armed burglary.
Her husband, John Lopez, 38, whom PBSO suspects may have been one of four people seen in video surveillance of some of the burglaries, is being charged with the same complaints as his wife, the affidavit said. He was arrested by Broward County authorities about two weeks ago on an unrelated assault complaint.
According to reports, Sandoval worked at Royal Caribbean’s Miramar office for about six years, was able to access passengers’ personal information and allegedly told her husband when they would be away.
PBSO said the burglaries began last November. According to reports, the couple scouted out homes and made notes of whether anyone else would be home and what security measures the homes had.
The affidavit said Lopez broke into the homes — usually by smashing a rear sliding glass door — while Sandoval waited outside in a black SUV. The document said some surveillance footage shows the SUV dropping off two people and later returning to pick up the pair, who was seen loading stolen household items into the SUV.
According to the affidavit, the couple accumulated “high dollar amounts of property, money and firearms.”
The passengers on all the cruises involved left either from the Port of Miami or Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
Palm Beach County Judge Krista Marx ordered Sandoval held in lieu of $70,000 bail.
RCCL officials said Sandoval has been fired. It also issued the following statement to the media: “:Royal Caribbean does not tolerate any form of criminal activity in its workforce or operations. This is a situation involving a former employee who appears to have taken advantage of their position for personal gain. Royal Caribbean cooperated fully with authorities during the investigation and will continue providing any assistance necessary to prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law.”
We regret this incident occured and hope it does not overshadow the excellent work of our more than 40,000 Royal Caribbean employees do every day to provide our guests with memorable and outstanding cruise vacation experiences.”
“We would also like to express our appreciation to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Task Force for their hard work, determination and professionalism throughout the investigation.”