The arrest of an 18-year-old Broward County man for the theft of a six-figure Bentley convertible from a home at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter might have broken up a team of thieves who steal high-end cars from gated communities across South Florida, according to reports.
The teens bragged about the thefts on social media, with a photo showing one leaning on Bentley and another showing one behind the wheel, and toll-plaza cameras also caught one of the teens passing through in the car, a Jupiter police report said.
Rejean Louis of Miramar was booked Thursday afternoon at the Palm Beach County Jail. On Friday morning, a judge ordered Louis held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Louis is charged with grand theft of more than $100,000, a first-degree felony, as well as giving false identification and prowling, both misdemeanors.
Two 17-year-old males believed also to be from Miramar were detained as well. Their status could not be determined because of juvenile judicial rules. The Palm Beach Post is not naming them.
Spokespersons for Jupiter police did not return calls and emails Friday.
According to a Jupiter police report, a man living in Trump National called at about 6:20 a.m. Monday to say he'd walked outside and found his garage door open and his two vehicles gone.
They were a 2018 Bentley Continental GT convertible, which had been in the garage, and a 2017 Porsche Panamera, which had been in the driveway. The owner said he'd left the keys in both cars.
The Kelly Blue Book, a directory that gives suggested car prices, listed the Bentley model's manufacturer's suggested retail price at $241,425 to $327,925. It set the Porsche at $86,050 to $161,050.
The police report said surveillance-camera video from the community's front entrance showed the cars driving out at about 3 a.m. Police ran the license plates on a database and, just before 7 a.m., they got a hit on the Bentley in Pembroke Pines, the city just north of Miramar.
Jupiter police eventually connected with Miramar police Detective Stacie Hadley, who said she'd been investigating a Miramar-based car theft ring that included Louis and several juveniles, the report said.
Tania Rues, spokeswoman for Miramar police, told The Post on Friday that her department has not specified how prolific this ring allegedly was but believes several rings in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have targeted dozens of vehicles.
The Jupiter police reported said the Miramar detective found videos posted online by one of the teens that showed someone driving the Bentley at about 4 a.m. Monday and later showed someone driving the Porsche.
The victim then alerted police that tolls had been posted on his SunPass account, running down Florida's Turnpike from Beeline Highway (3:34 a.m.) to Miramar (4:02 a.m.).
SunPass later provided digital images of the Bentley passing through tollbooths. The one from the Beeline showed the driver, down to his sweatshirt bearing a reflective Ferrari logo. The Miramar detective identified him as Louis and his passenger as another 17-year-old believed to be part of the ring.
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Then at about 4 a.m. Thursday, a security guard at Jupiter's Admiral's Cove neighborhood, just north of the Trump club, spotted three people trying to climb over the outer wall along Alternate State Road A1A, according to the report.
A Jupiter officer saw two people running away along Frederick Small Road and detained them. The two were identified as the passenger who'd been seen in the Bentley with Louis and one of the other two teens believed to be in the car-theft ring. The teens said they'd taken an Uber to the neighborhood and were there to visit a friend but could not provide a last name.
A short time later, another officer spotted a person running to, and entering, a van that had pulled up. The man gave police an alias but later was confirmed as Louis, the report said. The report does not mention the other person or persons in the van.
It said Louis denied having stolen the two cars on Monday, saying he he'd been home in Broward County. He said his cellphone would verify that.
The report said police checked the phone and found photos on social media that showed one of the other two teens police just had caught. That teen was sitting on a black Bentley matching the one stolen Monday. Other photos showed Louis in the driver's seat of the Bentley.
When police showed him him those photos and the ones from the tollbooth, he admitted it was the same jacket but said the driver wasn't him.
The police report charges Louis only with the theft of the Bentley.
The owner of the two cars is an executive at a Palm Beach County health firm. An associate said he did not want to comment except to say he was working closely with police. The Post is not naming him.
The Jupiter police report does not say if the cars stolen Monday have been recovered.