BARTOW, Fla. — Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested a Miami man accused of burglarizing a home in Bartow and stealing the ashes of a retired Lakeland police officer.
Deputies recovered the urn containing the ashes of Buddy Newsome and returned them to his widow, Michele Newsome.
"It was a loss all over again. I lost him to cancer and now I lost him to an intruder," said Newsome.
Polk County deputies recovered a urn containing the ashes of a retired Lakeland Police officer. His widow says she prayed she'd get it back after the urn was stolen during a burglary at her Polk County home. pic.twitter.com/rEfziOJ2k8
— Julie Salomone (@JSalomoneTV) April 4, 2018
Daniel Antonio Nolasco Cardona, 27, was arrested and booked into jail on Wednesday.
Sheriff Grady Judd said Cardona ransacked a handful of homes in the Tampa Bay area including four homes in the Lakeland area. Deputies said he confessed to stealing the urn.
Deputies said Cardona is from Honduras and has a tourist visa. Deputies caught him in Miami at a car rental business. Deputies say Cardona rented cars for the past six weeks on Mondays and Tuesdays. Deputies said he would burglarize homes while using a rental.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says Cardona was brought back to Polk County and booked into the Polk County Jail on the following charges:
- 4 counts Criminal Mischief (M-1)
- 4 counts Burglary of a Dwelling (F-1)
- 4 counts Conspiracy to Commit Burglary of a Dwelling (F-3)
- 4 counts Unlawful Use of 2-Way Communication Device (F-3)
- 2 counts Grand Theft (F-3)
- 1 count Destroy Monument/Gravestone (F-3)
Cardona will have a first appearance hearing on Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.
He is also suspected of committing burglaries in nine other Florida counties.
Newsome said she was confident Polk County deputies would find the urn and she's relieved the thief didn't toss it.
"I know sometimes if they recognize or realized what this was and it had no value to them, it was very likely that they could have tossed it out a window," said Newsome.