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Man breaks into friend’s home after victim’s family member dies, deputies say

Suspect accused of pawning stolen items for drug money

James Joseph Lacertosa
James Joseph Lacertosa (Flagler County Sheriff's Office)

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A man broke into his friend’s home while the victim was out of town dealing with a death in the family to steal electronics and other items to pawn for drug money, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the victim, his wife and son returned home around 10 p.m. May 7 after having been in the Orlando area all day to deal with the death and found a television, a sound bar, an Amazon Fire TV Stick, pain medications, a 32-year-old engagement ring and other jewelry missing.

A broken window appeared to be the culprit’s point of entry and a neighbor noted seeing a black SUV running in the driveway without anyone in it, records show.

Deputies said the victim suspected his friend James Joseph Lacertosa, 30, was responsible for the crime because Lacertosa was texting him all day asking when he would be home, verifying that he wasn’t in the area and making plans to do drugs together at a later point.

When the victim asked Lacertosa whether he was responsible, Lacertosa denied having anything to do with the crime and said the victim was like a brother to him, records show.

Deputies said their investigation led them to discover that Lacertosa pawned two of the items taken from the victim’s home while the rest have not been located.

“Here is a guy who will steal from anyone, even his friends, to feed his drug habit,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This is the worst kind of friend to have. I hope the courts hold him accountable and that he gets help for his drug addiction.”

Lacertosa was arrested Wednesday on charges of burglary of a dwelling during a state of emergency, dealing in stolen property, false verification of ownership, grand theft and criminal mischief.


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