Ronald Newby and his son, Brian Newby, were arrested this week as accomplices of a former Fort Lauderdale public works supervisor who allegedly misused his city-issued charge cards to buy expensive tools which he would pawn for cash.
The Newbys, of Coconut Creek, were arrested for dealing in stolen property. Brian Newby, 24, faces 55 theft-related charges and is being held on $82,500 bond in Broward Main Jail. Ronald Newby, 59, faces 18 theft-related charges. His bond was not immediately available. It is unclear if either of them has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to the police report, the Newbys allegedly conspired with Joseph Arena of Margate, who was the chief of collection and distribution in the Fort Lauderdale Public Works Department before he retired last November.
Arena, 57, reportedly supervised staff as well as the operation and maintenance of Fort Lauderdale’s water, waste water, and storm water infrastructure. He turned himself in on June 1 to face 27 theft-related charges, including dealing in stolen property, falsifying official documents, giving false information, and grand theft.
Arena is being held in Pompano Beach on a $69,000 bond. If he manages to post bail, he is required to provide proof that the funds he uses are from legitimate sources. He must also surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor. The press did not name an attorney for him.
After his arrest, Arena reportedly confirmed that he used his and his subordinates city-issued charge cards to buy tools and sell them for cash. The exact amount he stole has not been disclosed, but he reportedly stole property worth between $20,000 and $100,000. The Newbys allegedly sold the tools for profit on his behalf. They are not city employees and it is unclear how they know Arena.
“[The Newbys] were aware that Arena was a city of Fort Lauderdale employee and that the items that they sold were the property of the city of Fort Lauderdale,” Detective Kenneth Giles told the press. “They simply conspired with Arena to sell the stolen items for their own profit.”
In the state of Florida, grand theft occurs when a person unlawfully obtains or attempts to obtain someone else’s property with the intent of depriving them of their right to the property. The item stolen must be value at $300 or more.
Grand theft has many defenses, including mistake of fact, where a person takes something under the assumption that they own it; the belief that the offender had the consent of the victim; the offender acted out of necessity; lack of intent; and the offender obtained the property for a lawful purpose.
Hiring a lawyer is essential in these cases. A good lawyer can make a big difference in the outcome of the case because of all the available defenses. Even if none of the defenses mentioned apply, a lawyer can still help an offender represent their case in the best possible way and help them avoid jail time and a permanent criminal record.