Big Arrest in Home Explosion

Sheriff’s deputies have made an arrest in the Sandalfoot Cove home explosion case.
agudelo-drugs-explosionEduardo Antonio Agudelo, age 34 and a native of Colombia, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and is being held on $18,000 bond. He’s been charged with what appears to be four felony counts:
1. Arson
2. Possession of over 20 grams of marijuana
3. Marijuana producing
4. Renting a property knowingly used for manufacturing illegal drugs
West Boca News has obtained two probable cause affidavits from the case, and researched Mr. Agudelo’s arrest history as well.

Of course we remind our readers that arrestees are innocent until proven guilty, and also that despite our crime coverage, West Boca has a lower crime rate than East Boca and much lower than the county as a whole.

In Palm Beach County, Mr. Agudelo has 10 cases listed though they appear to be from 6 incidents including 3 traffic stops. Aside from those, in 2006 he was arrested for a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. That case was dropped by prosecutors.
In 2007 he was charged with felony marijuana possession and was sentenced to 18 months probation along with community service and nearly $500 in “fees.” Now he’s producing his own marijuana! The reports don’t disclose whether or not he was actually selling the marijuana he was growing, but if he was, he’d probably would’ve been using some seed to sale software so he could keep track of his expenses and his stock.

He also has had a few traffic tickets in Broward but we don’t see anything criminal there. We do see a history in Miami-Dade as well:
That shows four counts from 1998. Most were dropped, but the felony burglary and grand theft charges were resolved with probation and “adjudication withheld.”
He was arrested by the sheriff and booked the same day. From the arrest report, it appears that Mr. Agudelo voluntarily appeared at the Sheriff’s office on Gun Club Road in West Palm Beach. His “first appearance” was scheduled for this morning at 9 am but we do not have an update on what happened yet.
The affidavits show that the vehicle parked in front of the house was registered in Mr. Agudelo’s name along with a woman at an address in Miami-Dade County.
They also found substantial “correspondence” between Mr. Agudelo and a different woman [name omitted] (25) who has had a couple traffic cases in Broward County. She might be one of the women pictured in this photo, but we can’t be sure. We found it at a blog titled [woman’s name omitted – link broken].
We see a possible connection between the two associated with North Bay Village, an island between Miami and Miami Beach along the JFK Causeway.
The police affidavit indicates that a neighbor’s surveillance video shows Mr. Agudelo on the scene shortly after the explosion along with an as-yet unidentified woman. It’s lucky the neighbor was in possession of a camera similar to that of My Animal Command’s – Solar Trail Cameras For Security and Surveillance otherwise Mr. Agudelo may have never been arrested and tried.
On review of the affidavits, the arson charge looks like a stretch. Here’s what the investigating officer wrote:
As written it seems like he’s trying to squeeze an accident into an intentional arson. However the statute, section 806.01, includes damage resulting from commission of any felony, so the intent may refer to the other felonies charged. We still think it’s a weak arson case.
It may also be difficult to prove a connection between Agudelo and the other criminal acts. The police claim video puts him at the scene but we don’t know how clear that video is, and there does not appear to be any evidence showing what he did, if anything, inside the house.
Do they have enough for probable cause? Sure, that looks pretty clear. But proving his guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? That’s not going to be easy unless something else happens.
One other bit from all of this. There are two separate arrest reports. For some reason they have two arrests, one for the arson and another for the other three charges. In one arrest report they list his occupation as “unknown.”
Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 12.10.45 PM
And in the other a different officer listed Agudelo’s occupation as “drug producer.”
Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 12.10.12 PM
Now that’s a cop with a sense of humor.

Sandalfoot: Home Explosion and the Media Scrum – Photos and Video

Update: The house appears to be secure. We saw a neighbor being interviewed (see video at bottom) and she said that she heard an explosion that sounded like an electrical transformer, and then heard someone climb over her fence. Government officials are reporting that the property was being used as a “grow house” for marijuana production. No word yet on any injuries.
Sandalfoot Cove was host to numerous first responders and a media scrum. Residents reported an explosion on SW 62nd Street, which lies between Palmetto Park Road and SW 3rd Street, between Lyons and 441.

The street was full of people and emergency vehicles when West Boca News arrived. Here you can see a cameraman in the foreground, with Fire and PBSO personnel mid-ground and residents in the background.
Out on SW 3rd the TV trucks were in force:
Here you can see the house in question, with windows in obvious disarray and PBSO deputies heading around to the back of the house:
And here’s the best close-up we could get of the house.
While first responders were entering without safety equipment, a PBSO deputy told us to stay back to the other side of the street because the house might still be unstable. We didn’t believe him but obeyed anyway.
They brought out lots of heavy equipment, including the PBSO bomb squad:
Here’s some video of the scene:

And here’s part of a TV station interview with the next-door neighbor

A reader helped with research on the property. It is owned by “62nd Avenue Holdings, LLC.” That company is filed with Florida by registered agent (and real estate agent) John McCann of Boca Valley Realty on North Federal Highway.
The Sunbiz filing shows one individual who may be the owner or manager of an investor group, Mario Monello.
We don’t know if it’s the same person, but there was a Mario Monello involved with Lehman Brothers before the financial collapse. That Mario Monello is mentioned in this CNN story about leveraged finance back in 1989. One fictional work about the collapse has a character named Mario Monelli, perhaps an homage: The Lions’ Den.

Seeking help from Wall Street, Julie finds an unlikely defender of the American system, Mario Monelli, a Mergers and Acquisitions expert at a prestigious investment banking house, pitting him against his long time Wall Street nemesis, Barton Mulvaney, rumored to have shadowy ties to the Royal family. Mario is nervous about the idea, and whether he has the pedigree to challenge Bart. But he’s also falling in love with Julie and uses the opportunity to be around her.
Mario also heads up the Zoo Crew, a wild bunch of investment bankers who lack the breeding and education of their colleagues—but not the brains—and have dedicated themselves to helping beleaguered companies fend off corporate raiders.

We called McCann’s office and left a message. We were not the first call and we suspect Mr. McCann is wisely avoiding any public comment.
Here’s another video – firefighters entering the home after the situation stablized:

Umberto's in West Boca

We had lunch today at Umberto’s of Long Island Pizza & Restaurant, in West Boca Plaza. It is next to the small Publix across from Sandalfoot Square, on the west side of 441 just south of Sandalfoot Blvd.
Lunch specials start at $4.95 for two slices and a soda. At the high end you can get a couple dishes like Chicken Parm with spaghetti for $7.95.
The service is friendly and the interior is bright and clean.

Bread is apparently included too:

One of us had the Umberto sandwich (italian combo) with fries. The cheese was noticeably better than average, soft with a rich flavor. Fries seemed unusual for Italian but they were very good.

My partner had spaghetti with a meatball, which had a sweet sauce and was, well “yummy”. The plate cleared rapidly.

On the whole it was a solid lunch at a reasonable price (under $15 before tip).
Umberto’s is at 23001 State Road 7 (441) and the phone is 561-477-2500. The take out menu says they deliver, and lists three other locations in Broward County.

Sergio's Americas Bakery

Sergio’s is a Colombian bakery and restaurant, in the plaza on the northwest corner of Sandalfoot and 441 (near the Cumberland Farms gas station). The plaza is a microcosm of varied ethnic shops from Latin American to Israeli.

We had a nice and inexpensive breakfast, with scrambled eggs and arepa.

Breakfast was about $4. It included a coffee or hot chocolate. I had the latter, which was not too sweet and tended toward dark chocolate.

The interior is plain and small but pleasant.

As the name mentions, its a bakery. There’s a small cabinet full of treats.

We brought home a few. Some were great and others were just okay. Favorites in our house were a cornbread-like cookie and a roll that I can’t fully describe – it looked plain but had an almost creamy texture.