TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Five Polk County residents have been charged with racketeering after about 30 burglaries in seven different counties, including Polk, Hernando, Hillsborough, Hardee, Highlands and Sarasota, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Officials opened an investigation in March 2019 after multiple law enforcement agencies responded to commercial burglaries “with similar characteristics,” according to the FDLE.
In each of the reported burglaries, several suspects threw objects into glass to enter the business before raiding safes and cash registers, officials said.
Law enforcement linked the five suspects to the burglaries with surveillance footage, witnesses and crime scene evidence, according to the FDLE. Officials believe the burglary ring is involved with about 30 burglaries in 11 jurisdictions across Polk, Volusia, Hernando, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough and Sarasota counties.
De Jauhn Akins, 31, of Bartow; Chad Barnett, 29, of Lake Wales; Antonio Ray, 34, of Lake Wales; Jamar Hasley, 33, of Lake Wales; and Xavier Ulysse, 28, of Lake Wales were all arrested Friday and charged with first-degree felony racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, according to the FDLE.
All five suspects are held in the Polk County Jail without bond, officials said.