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2 charged in Chiefland thefts

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An alert citizen's tip has led to two Chiefland men being charged with stealing more than once from a home on Northwest 80th Street in Chiefland, according to a Levy County Sheriff's Office press release.

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Michael Q. Florence, 42, and Mikal L. Rodriguez. 19, were arrested on Feb. 19, as a result of work done by Sheriff's Det. Mike Wilkinson, Patrol Sgt. Todd Houchin and Dep. Matt King. Both are charged with burglary and grand theft and each has a $100,000 bond.

The tip on a black Chevy S-10 seen leaving a home where recent thefts had been occurring led to King conducting a traffic stop on an S-10 driven by Florence on U.S. Highway 19. King found Florence was in possession of some property from the home. King detained Florence and summoned Houchin and Wilkinson. The three were able to collect witness statements and locate the property owner, who came to the traffic stop and identified his property.

Rodriguez was found at his home a short while later and Wilkinson obtained his confession. Rodriguez claimed he and Florence — over the period of two days — removed two furnaces, a washer and dryer, refrigerator, scrap metal and other items from the home valued at about $10,000, according to the press release. 

The pair are also under investigation in Gilchrist County for disposing of some of the scrap metal at a recycle center.