Sanibel Identity Theft Investigation Leads to Arrest

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Sanibel Detective John Eicher earns Officer of the Year Award for solving a separate complex fraud case. SC photo by Chuck Larsen

In July 2023, Sanibel Police responded to a report of identity theft by a Sanibel resident. Initially, the victim’s identity had been used to open multiple accounts at online retailers and withdraw cash from the victim’s bank account. It was later discovered that more than 50 fraudulent transactions were made using the victim’s identity and funds at various online retailers, including multiple purchases of gold bars from a business in Nevada.

During the course of the investigation, Sanibel Police Detective John Eicher was able to identify several suspects at a residence in Miami Gardens, Fla. Detective Eicher then contacted Miami Gardens Police Department in whose jurisdiction the home is located.

Miami Gardens Police detectives immediately began assisting with the investigation, including placing the residence under surveillance and obtaining a search warrant. It was decided to execute the search warrant immediately after the pending delivery of another fraudulent gold bar purchase. Miami Gardens Police detectives executed a controlled delivery and observed a suspect signing the Sanibel victim’s name and taking possession of the delivery.

Upon execution of the search warrant, one suspect was arrested, and the following material was seized:
• Identity theft material related to the Sanibel victim including a counterfeit driver’s license.
• Identity theft material related to numerous other potential victims including South West Florida residents.
• Five (5) firearms and numerous parts for building additional firearms.
• Three (3) switches for converting Glock handguns to fully automatic firearms.
• Nine (9) cell phones with additional SIM cards.

This is still an active investigation and no further information can be provided at this time. There are potentially additional victims, suspects, and offenses involving additional state and federal agencies.

The Sanibel Police Department would like to thank the Miami Gardens Police Department for their prompt and thorough actions while taking over the investigation. The Sanibel Police Department would also like to thank Detective Eicher for his dedication in serving our residents, which in this case led to an investigation spreading much farther than just Sanibel.

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