Marine recruiter implicated in theft of estranged wife's police cruiser, weapons
By DAN SCANLAN | The Florida Times-Union | Published: October 31, 2019
(Tribune News Service) — Upset that his estranged wife cheated on him, a U.S. Marine Corps recruiter from Camp Lejeune "wanted someone to burglarize" her home and steal her car, according to a four-page Duval County arrest warrant.
Except his wife is a Jacksonville sheriff's officer and that car was her marked police cruiser, stolen Oct. 13 from their Westside home along with her service weapons and tactical gear, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Now 32-year-old Bruno J. Bego is in the Duval County jail on $600,000 bail, charged with armed burglary, auto theft, criminal solicitation to commit burglary and criminal solicitation to commit auto theft, according to the warrant. He was initially arrested on that warrant in Jacksonville, N.C., the Onslow County Sheriff's Office said.
His arrest followed those of the people police said were sought to carry out the police car theft.
That began with the Oct. 16 arrest of Juan Anibal Otero and Orialys Santiago-Maldonado, both 20, and Kyler Evans, 24, charged with armed burglary and auto theft, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. Tuesday, 19-year-old Maxamillion Alexander Bonapart Brathwaite also was arrested in the case, charged with criminal solicitation to commit burglary and auto theft, jail records show.
According to police, the officer returned home Oct. 15 from a trip to find her marked patrol vehicle missing from the driveway and her home ransacked. Security camera video showed a car pull up about 9:45 p.m. Oct. 13, and one of three people inside got out. An air conditioner was pulled out of a back window to get in, according to the incident report.
The officer's police-issued Glock handgun and rifle were taken, as well as her shotgun, bulletproof vests, riot helmet, medical bag and a television. The car's keys were taken from a bedroom table and the cruiser driven away, found abandoned in a Firestone Road apartment complex after a tip, police said. The weapons and police gear were not recovered.
Detectives pieced together evidence and identified the vehicle believed to be involved in the crime. That led to identifying the first three suspects, the Sheriff's Office said.
The warrant states that Brathwaite received "an unexpected call" from Bego on Oct. 12, saying his estranged wife would be out of town the next day and her home "unsecured." It also said Brathwaite had met Bego when he was a recruiter at a Jacksonville high school.
Bego told Brathwaite that his wife had cheated on him and "did not need to be a police officer anymore," adding that there were guns inside the home and police cruiser keys on the counter, the warrant said. Brathwaite passed this information on to Otero, who called him back when the burglary occurred. Brathwaite also called Bego to confirm "the burglary had been committed," the warrant said.
Bego's arrest is not in Duval County jail or court records since he is the spouse of a police officer and can be opted out under state statute. The warrant was released after a request was filed with the State Attorney's Office.