ORLANDO, Fla. – A man who, authorities said, used firecrackers to distract Florida Mall employees and steal a Rolex watch was arrested in South Carolina on Sunday, officials with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.
Kevin Triana, 22, was one of two people who set off firecrackers on April 8 near a Mayor's jewelry store, scaring customers and distracting employees to allow the robbers to grab a $16,000 Rolex watch, detectives said.
Orange County deputies responded to the scene after mallgoers reported a possible active shooter.
“Eleven people were injured at that Florida mall when they were all running out because they thought it was an active shooter,” Orange County detective Sgt. Joe Covelli said.
Triana and the other person went to South Florida with the stolen watch, pawned it and then carried out another theft, using the same method to distract jewelry store employees, Covelli said.
Court documents show the detective in the case linked Triana to two other robberies in South Florida. One took place at the Sawgrass Mills Mall on Dec. 31 and the other happened at Dadeland Mall on
April 15, just one week after the incident at the Florida Mall.
In all three cases, detectives said, a Hispanic man was seen trying on a Rolex watch and running out just moments after hearing fireworks go off inside the mall. Detectives said a detail that gave away the robbers' association with the fireworks was that, when they went off, Triana ran toward them, while crowds of people ran in the opposite direction.
Covelli said Sheriff's Office detectives partnered with Miami-area law enforcement agencies and used surveillance video to identify Triana as a suspect.
Triana was arrested in South Carolina on Sunday.
"He was actually casing other businesses, other stores, in South Carolina," Covelli said. "We were able to reach out to those agencies up there and facilitate the apprehension of the suspect."
Triana will be extradited to Florida.
The second robber is still wanted in connection with the thefts.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-8477.