Juan Carlos Cabrera Jr. had only worked at a West Palm Beach-area tree-trimming and landscaping business for a few days, but it was enough time for the company’s owner to realize the 20-year-old man was “in his own world, a little bit off.”
That was before David Mummert learned that Cabrera used a chainsaw he allegedly stole from a company truck to attack a woman Feb. 27 in Lantana, damaging the woman’s left hand and causing wounds to her chest.
Mummert said he was walking past a television at his office on Wayman Circle the day after the attack when he learned Cabrera was involved.
“Holy cow, that dude worked for me for five days,” Mummert said he thought after hearing Cabrera was behind the alleged assault. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Mummert then remembered that Cabrera had asked to borrow a chainsaw on Feb. 26, the day before the woman was attacked outside the Super 8 motel in Lantana.
Cabrera’s request for the $650 mechanical saw was rejected.
“I thought he wanted it for a side job,” said Mummert, who has been in business since 2005. “I had just hired him. I told him, ‘I barely even know you.’ ”
A check of his inventory turned up a missing chainsaw. Mummert immediately contacted Lantana police, who later confirmed that the stolen chainsaw was found in Cabrera’s vehicle and had been used to injure the woman.
The woman, who did not know Cabrera, is in fair condition at Delray Medical Center, according to a hospital spokesman.
Cabrera was back in court Monday on charges of grand theft between $300 and $5,000 and burglary for allegedly breaking into the company vehicle and stealing the chainsaw.
Cabrera’s court appearance on new charges didn’t have any effect on his detention. He was already being held at the PBC Jail without bond on attempted first degree murder charge. pic.twitter.com/cAKn1dlv1c— Jorge Milian (@caneswatch) March 5, 2018
Judge Ted Booras ordered $5,000 bonds on each of the counts during a brief hearing at the Palm Beach County Jail.
But Cabrera, of suburban Lake Worth, won’t be getting out of the jail any time soon. He was already being held without bond on a charge of attempted first-degree murder for the chainsaw incident.
Cabrera is also facing a charge of aggravated battery on a law-enforcement officer after he punched a Lantana officer at the town police station while the officer was attempting to hand him a granola bar.
A search of the Super 8 motel room that Cabrera was staying in turned up marijuana and cocaine leading to drug charges, police said.
Cabrera told detectives after his arrest that he has a history of mental illness and had suffered a breakdown the day before the attack.
Court records show that Cabrera underwent a court-ordered mental health evaluation Monday. The results of the evaluation are sealed.
Mummert said he got a bad impression of Cabrera almost immediately after hiring him and was already looking to get rid of his newest employee when the assault occurred.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Mummert said.