A Port St. Lucie man is charged with stealing a vintage car valued at $100,000 in Boca Raton.
On April 3, at approximately 11:08 p.m., Boca Raton police officers responded to the 6400 block of W. Rogers Circle in Boca Raton.
Officers met with the victim regarding a stolen 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle.
The victim says he was viewing his remote surveillance camera via cellphone. At one point he glanced back at his phone and realized the Chevelle was missing. At approximately 11:04 p.m., he headed to the location and contacted police.
Upon reviewing the surveillance video footage, at approximately 9:17 p.m. a suspicious white Honda Accord 4-door sedan circled the parking lot in which the Chevelle was parked.
Driving the Accord was a Hispanic male, who was covering his head.
Surveillance video shows the suspect placing his hand on the glass window and looking into the suite which is directly to the rear of the Chevelle. The same man was seen walking in camera view near the Chevelle several times.
At approximately 9:29 p.m., the same white Honda Accord returned to the parking lot and the same man is captured on video again.
At approximately 9:59 p.m., the suspect returned to the area and approached the Chevelle. He opened the hood and then closed it and ran away due to the alarm activating.
The suspect returned to the Chevelle at approximately 10:04 p.m. Three minutes later, the suspect entered the Chevelle and drove it away.
Once the Chevelle was stolen, surveillance video captured white white Honda Accord follow the Chevelle out of the area.
On April 5, a Detective Sergeant from the Boca Raton Police Department recalled similar vehicle thefts of classic "high-end" rare vehicles in Boca Raton from 2010 and 2012.
The vehicles stolen in those two cases were a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle and a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro (COPO edition), which were valued at approximately $50,000 and $198,000.
The suspect in those cases was Christian Santiago, a known auto thief who has 24 felony convictions that include several grand theft auto charges. Santiago was incarcerated until July of 2016.
On April 6, 2017, police retrieved video from a Valero gas station on Clint Moore Road (1.2 miles from where the Chevelle was stolen.)
Surveillance video from the gas station appears to show the same Honda Accord pull up to the curb and a man wearing the exact clothing as the man shown stealing the Chevelle on surveillance video is seen entering the store to purchase a Mountain Dew cola, just 7 minutes after the theft of the Chevelle.
Based on the surveillance footage from the Valero, it is clear that the male on the video is Christian Santiago, based upon his Florida Driver's License photo.
On April 8, 2017, police responded to the Sago Palm State Prison in Pahokee where Santiago was incarcerated from 6/15/16 to 7/15/16. Police made contact with prison Corrections Officers who reviewed the video and said the suspect appeared to be Christian Santiago.
One of the Corrections Officers made mention of Santiago's distinctive eyebrows in the video, which made him more certain it was Santiago.
Police say Santiago's wife has a white 2007 Honda Accord registered to her. Her Accord has the same distinctive features (a sunroof and plastic window guards) as the Honda seen in the surveillance video during the theft of the Chevelle.
Police say surveillance video from the Valero gas station shows the suspect taking paper towels from a dispenser. Surveillance video from the site of the Chevelle theft shows the suspect returning to wipe down the window of the business with paper towels that he touched with his hand before stealing the Chevelle.
Christian Santiago is being charged with Grand Theft Auto in excess of $100,000.