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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Ocala man accused of stealing trailer, tools from Habitat for Humanity construction site

A 41-year-old Ocala man was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after he was accused of stealing a trailer and tools from a Habitat for Humanity construction site.

On Monday, October 24, a Habitat for Humanity construction manager contacted MCSO to report the recent theft of a 6-foot by 12-foot trailer. The manager advised that the trailer was last seen at the construction site at around noon on Sunday, October 23.

When the manager arrived at the incident location at 2 p.m. on Monday, he noticed that the trailer was missing. The MCSO report listed the approximate value of the trailer at $3,500, and tools that were inside the trailer were valued at around $3,000.

A week later, on Monday, October 31, the construction manager contacted an MCSO corporal to advise that a listing on Craiglist was found for a Craftsman miter saw with a Bosch miter saw stand. According to the manager, this was the same combination of saw and stand that was located inside the trailer prior to the theft.

The manager stated that a Habitat for Humanity employee met with the seller, later identified as Christopher Joseph Girard, at the Love’s Travel Stop located at 7791 NW 47th Avenue in Ocala.

Christopher Joseph Girard
Christopher Joseph Girard

When the employee viewed the Craftsman miter saw and Bosch miter saw stand that Girard was selling, the employee confirmed that both items had been stolen from the trailer.

An MCSO sergeant responded to the Love’s Travel Stop and made contact with Girard. While the sergeant waited for the corporal to arrive on scene, Girard began running in a northeastern direction in an attempt to flee from the sergeant, according to the MCSO report.

Girard allegedly ignored the sergeant’s commands to stop, and the sergeant caught up to Girard and placed him in handcuffs. While the sergeant was speaking with Girard, he spontaneously uttered that the stolen trailer was located in the 6400 block of NW 57th Court.

The MCSO report stated that the trailer was ultimately recovered at the location that Girard had mentioned, and some of the stolen tools were also found there.

After being read his Miranda rights, Girard denied stealing the trailer and claimed that he had retrieved the stolen trailer from behind the Pilot Travel Center located at 4032 W Highway 326, near where one of his friends resided. Girard told MCSO investigators that he was attempting to sell the tools to bond that friend out of jail.

Girard was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $5,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for grand theft (over $750 but less than $5,000) and dealing in stolen property, along with a misdemeanor charge for resisting an officer without violence.

A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.