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Hillsborough County man accused of stealing nearly $180,000 worth of tools from construction sites

Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 21, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. -- Thieves are targeting construction sites. An eight-month investigation reveals a man allegedly stole six figures worth of tools and equipment.

Dairon Gonzalez is allegedly connected to the theft of nearly $180,000 worth of tools from construction sites. Court documents show he even posed like them while allegedly stealing.

Jorge Ballin owns Best Concrete Finishers. He warns it doesn’t take much to clear out a construction site of valuable tools.

“Like these guys right here,” he points to a group of workers constructing a home. “If they go to lunch for 30 minutes, all their things could disappear.”

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office calls them easy targets for thieves.

“They are walking away with thousands and thousands of dollars of equipment for work that took two minutes to do. So, it’s a crime that they can do very quickly, and they can get away with a lot of value,” said Amanda Granit with HCSO.

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ABC Action News obtained court documents. Dairon Gonzalez is facing several charges connected to grand theft and trespassing on construction sites.

Arrest records show back in April, Gonzalez and Aslain Garcia snuck into a construction area wearing hard hats and work boots. They allegedly stole from the trailers.

HCSO says often times these thieves are construction workers themselves, like Gonzalez.

“They know the value of the equipment that’s there and they also know that many times it’s not locked up at night and left vulnerable,” said Granit.

In March, Gonzalez allegedly hauled off a welder like this valued at over $25,000. A GPS tracker gave deputies vital clues and helped tie the crime to Gonzalez. On Thursday, his wife defended him.

“I don’t think he’ll have anything to speak about because he’s not yet guilty of anything. So, I don’t know what you would speak with him about because his final judgement hasn’t happened yet,” she said.

Ballin has been on the extreme end of such thefts. Last year, he cornered a carjacker who had his tools but the man pulled out a gun.

“It was pretty scary.” recounted Ballin, “Three shots ‘boom, boom, boom’ one after the other.”

HCSO’s investigation into Gonzalez isn’t over. They say he drove the stolen goods to Miami. Now, they’re searching his phone to find others possibly involved.

For anyone looking to make an honest buck, Ballin says this: “They can grab a shovel, they can tie steel, they can carry blocks or wood. Just come and try it. You’ll get paid.”