BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Back on July 15, Mike Jones a.k.a Salvage Santa arrived at his storage unit to find locks cut off and doors open, with estimated thousands of dollars of toys and bicycles missing from inside.
Deputies say about 25 Kent 18″ boys bicycles and assorted sports equipment was stolen from the facility.
Since then, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office has been working to find the person responsible.
On Wednesday, BCSO announced they arrested 40-year-old Christopher Baten Fernandes of Youngstown.
Deputies say they were told the stolen bikes were seen on Happyville Road on Tuesday.
The property owner gave deputies permission to search the area and there, they found a new bicycle behind a shed and one inside a truck.
Both of the bikes were identical to the ones that were stolen, according to deputies.
Deputies say Fernandes was seen bringing the new bicycles, still in boxes to the property and was reportedly was bragging he took the bikes ‘from a cop.’
Jones is a retired Panama City Police Officer and Chief of Security and Police for Bay District Schools.
On Wednesday, Fernandes was pulled over and arrested.
Deputies say Fernandes gave them permission to search his vehicle and a child’s bike and 12 gauge shot-gun was found inside.
Fernandes is facing charges of burglary of a dwelling, grand theft, and possession of a short-barreled gun.