Related video: Florida officials bust Home Depot rental theft ring

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The ringleader of a Florida Home Depot theft ring was sentenced to prison during a court appearance on Wednesday.

Byron Johnson, identified as the leader of the retail theft operation, was arrested in April on charges of grand theft, among several other offenses, for failing to return equipment rented from stores in 15 counties.

According to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, whose office prosecuted Johnson, 44 thefts were identified during the investigation. Johnson and four other defendants were accused of destroying the GPS trackers on the equipment and reselling them online. They also used stolen IDs to rent the equipment.

Johnson was charged with grand theft (more than $100,000) a first-degree felony, scheme to defraud, nine counts of dealing in stolen property, and unlawful possession of the personal identification information. He was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday, followed by five years’ probation, and was ordered to pay $539,360 in restitution.

The other defendants’ cases are still pending.