TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office announced a local ‘Grinch,’ wanted for breaking into a single mom’s home in Lakeland and stealing gifts meant for her kids was located by U.S. Marshals in Plant City and taken into custody.
An arrest warrant for Raheim Jamaar Johnson, 28, was issued by the Polk County Sheriff on Dec. 23 after the break-in. Sheriff Grady Judd asked for the community’s help finding the “Grinch” and Crime Stoppers put up a reward for anyone who could help find Johnson.
According to the sheriff’s office, Johnson was found at the Knight’s Inn on Frontage Rad in Plant City and arrested on Dec. 29. After being taken into custody, Johnson reportedly told officers that he wanted to go to the Hillsborough County Jail, rather than the Polk County Jail, because “he was upset with Polk County deputies because they kept bothering family members, friends, and acquaintances about where he, Johnson, was.”
PCSO said Johnson told them he was out of money and no one would let him stay with them because of notoriety he’d received from Polk County sheriff’s detectives trying to find him. He told officers he was upset he’d had to rent a hotel room instead of staying with friends or family while law enforcement looked for him.
Johnson rented his room at the Knight’s Inn under a false name, according to the sheriff’s office. When he was arrested, Johnson did not tell deputies where the stolen gifts were.
Sheriff Judd was not happy about that.
“I’m very disappointed Mr. Johnson did not tell deputies where the gifts are. My guess is he sold them soon after they were stolen. I thank the U.S. Marshals Service for finding this Grinch. For now he’s in jail. We will work hard to make sure he’s held accountable for stealing a family’s Christmas,” Judd said. “I’m also very thankful to all those who provided us tips on who Johnson was and where he was. Because of these tips, we kept him on the run, lying low, and hopefully he did not have a chance to steal from innocent citizens while we looked for him.”
Polk Sheriff’s Charities, Inc., Polk County Toys for Tots, and a local businessman helped replace the stolen Christmas gifts, according to the sheriff’s office.