Aaron Franklin of Boynton Beach, Florida was arrested on June 30 after his neighbor accused him of stealing a gas grill and lawn equipment, according to news reports. Franklin, 20, was booked into Broward County Jail on charges of grand theft an selling stolen property on the Internet in connection to the accusations. It remains uncelar whether he has qualified for bail bond or retained a private criminal defense attorney.
Franklin was arrested after his neighbor, Aden Reese, accused him of stealing over $800 in lawn and outdoor equipment from his home. The two men live in adjacent homes in the 500 block of Northwest Seventh Street in Boynton Beach, Florida. It does not appear as though they ever had any problems before Franklin allegedly took Reese’s property; instead, media reports indicate that Franklin often helped Reese by mowing his lawn and that in return Reese let Frankin borrow his lawn equipment. Neither Reese nor Franklin appear to have commented publicly on the allegations.
Franklin stands accused of taking three items from Reese: a six-burner gas grill, a weed-whacker, and a lawn mower. The equipment apparantly went missing on June 25 while Reese was out of town, and a neighber reported the thefts to law enforcement as well as to Reese. Reese immediately suspected Franklin, who often used the equipment and even cut Reese’s lawn for him on occasion, of taking the appliances. Franklin, however, reportedly denied the charges.
After hearing about the thefts, Reese received a call from an anonymous friend who told him about a newly posted Craigslist ad. The ad was apparantly for a lawn mower and a weed wacker and asked fo $80. Reese, according to the press, decided to do some detective work on his own and called the number listed on the ad, which he recognized as Franklin’s grandmother’s phone number. Franklin allegedly answered the phone ang agreed to sell the items to Reese, who pretended to be a buyer.
At that point, sources indicate that Reese contacted law enforcement. When deputies showed up at Franklin’s residence, Franklin allegedly denied stealing the lawn mower despite the fact that the deputies had not mentioned it. Media reports claim that after telling detectives he had borrowed the lawn mower and intended to return it, Franklin admitted to taking the equipment when detectives brought up the Craigslist ad. Franklin allegedly explained that he sold the lawn mower and weed whacker for $50 on Craigslist and sold the dismantled grill at a Delray Beach scrap yard. Franklin’s mother apparantly substantiated this claim by telling authorities and Reese that she had taken Franklin to a Delray Beach scrap yard to sell metal from a grill, which was in pieces.
Reese apparantly told Franklin that he would not press charges if the equipment was returend. However, Franklin was unable to do so, and Reese decided to press charges although Franklin’s mother offered to pay for the stolen appliances. There is no indication that Franklin has ever faced similar charges in the past. He is, as in all US criminal cases, innocent until proven guilty.
Read about other Palm Beach theft cases here.