DCSO arrests two suspects involved in statewide heavy equipment theft ring

On November 13, 2023, an abandoned equipment trailer, suspected to be stolen from Home Depot, was found in our county. The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Bureau discovered a larger theft operation behind it, implicating a statewide theft ring.

Our investigative team diligently tracked down a stolen excavator linked to this ring on November 16, 2023 at a property in the county. The equipment had been rented from Home Depot, sold and purchased through Facebook Marketplace at an impossibly low price from Derrick Wilkerson, a figure associated with theft and drugs. Wilkerson orchestrated this operation, using false identities and tempting victims with unbelievable deals.

An arrest warrant was issued for Wilkerson, highlighting the severity of his actions. On November 20, 2023, a Home Depot vehicle hauling a trailer and additional equipment was spotted on the move. Brandon Mallard was behind the wheel, and Wilkerson was also in the vehicle. After attempting to evade law enforcement, their vehicle eventually ran out of gas, and our deputies safely arrested both individuals.

A total of over $139,000 worth of stolen property was recovered during this incident, including a truck, excavator, skid steer and two trailers.

Sheriff Potter emphasizes: “If it appears too good to be true, it likely is!” As we prepare for the holiday season, exercise caution and stay alert. Don’t fall for unusually tempting offers. Remember to always report any suspicious activity to DCSO at 863-993-4700 or submit an anonymous tip to SWFL Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.

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