HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and art, along with several other items have been recovered after the burglar who targeted tented homes was arrested.
The accused crook went undercover and burglarized several homes that were being fumigated. The items that were recovered from the bust remain at the police department, and officials are looking for the rightful owners.
Some of those homeowners have claimed the stolen items, but there still are so many that have not been retrieved. Items from the bust include jewelry, watches, golf clubs and electronics. “This is from my sister that passed away three years ago,” said Luz Collier, who was recovering her stolen goods. “This is from my sister, she sent it in a little card.”
She and her husband went to the police station and told 7News that they lost a lot of their personal prized possessions that are mostly memories and sentimental things. Collier told us that jewelry was also taken that has been in her family since the 1960s. “I was angry for stealing these things that mean so much to me,” said Luz Collier, who was recovering her stolen goods. “Then I said it must be a reason, must be a reason.”
The Colliers are just two of 30 victims, people said, who were targeted by Derek Bell. He was arrested a few weeks ago for, police said, targeting tented homes that were getting treated for termites in Hollywood. Bell harbored all the things he allegedly took in his apartment and storage shed.
He has since been arrested and is behind bars with no bond, despite trying to plead with the judge in September. “Is it possible that some of these charges can be reduced as far as bond?” Bell asked.
Now some of his alleged victims, like the Colliers, can reclaim their belongings. “This is my grandkids’ birth,” Collier said holding up a necklace. “I can’t believe it. I just cannot believe I’m finding all that stuff.”
She even found one of her favorite pictures of her father as well as the note that came with it, nearly 60 years ago. “Kisses, saludos para todos tus padres, your father,” Collier read, teary eyed.
Collier is happy to retrieve her belongings and has come to terms with the loss. “Maybe I didn’t need all these things, maybe it happened that I can appreciate,” she said, “but I do appreciate all the things that I have, so you never know. God has a plan.”
If you may have been a victim and would like to retrieve some of your stolen property, call the Hollywood Police station at (954) 967-4636.
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