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Monday, May 16, 2022

Ocala man arrested after damaging equipment at Queens Gardens Resort

A 31-year-old Ocala man is facing a criminal mischief charge after he damaged equipment at Queens Gardens Resort.

On Saturday, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to the motel located at 3340 S Pine Avenue in Ocala in reference to criminal mischief.

Upon arrival, the motel’s manager advised that a man, later identified as Justin Anthony Mendez, had approached the housekeeper and stated that he “fixed the water.”

Ocala man arrested after damaging local motel8217s water pumps
Justin Anthony Mendez

Mendez then asked the housekeeper for the keys to unlock two trash cans that were chained together. The housekeeper ignored the request.

The manager and the motel’s maintenance crew checked the septic tank systems in the back of the motel and discovered that multiple PVC pipes were ripped out.

A female secretary at the motel told the deputy that she had witnessed Mendez pacing back and forth, and he appeared at one point to touch an electrical box that was underneath the motel’s signs. He left the area when she picked up the phone and called law enforcement.

The deputy reviewed the motel’s security footage and observed Mendez pacing near a vending machine in front of the motel. In the footage, Mendez also appeared to be pushing something with the back of his foot.

The motel’s equipment was estimated to have $5,000 worth of damages.

On Sunday, MCSO received a call regarding a possible commercial burglary on the 3000 block of S Pine Avenue. An MCSO deputy arrived on scene and located Mendez.

Mendez asked the deputy, “How’s the pump system working behind Queens right now?”

During an interview with the deputy, Mendez admitted to speaking with the housekeeper on Saturday and he recalled asking for the keys to the two trash cans that were chained together.

Mendez also recalled telling the housekeeper that he fixed the water. He admitted to having seen the water pump previously and stated that “the pump needed some work on it.”

Mendez was able to describe the fence around the septic system, and he told the deputy that the nearby bushes needed to be trimmed.

According to the MCSO report, the deputy observed that the septic system is out of sight in a wooded area behind the motel, and a person would need prior knowledge to know that a fence and bushes are around the septic tank.

Mendez denied damaging the tank.

When he was shown a photo of the suspect that was captured on the motel’s security footage, Mendez admitted that the person in the photo was him.

Mendez was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $2,000 bond. He is facing a felony charge for criminal mischief.

A court date has been scheduled on Tuesday, February 22 at 9 a.m., according to jail records.