Florida man accused of stealing equipment from construction site for home project

<div>Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office</div>
Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office

MINNEOLA, Fla. - A Florida man was arrested after he was caught stealing equipment from a construction site in Lake County on Sunday for a home project, deputies said.

Ernest Tanelus, 55, was charged with larceny grand theft and trespassing after the incident that unfolded in a posted construction area in the Hills of Minneola community, according to an arrest affidavit from the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

A deputy on patrol who was conducting a property check in the area saw Tanelus near the intersection of Axel Street and Keystone Pass Boulevard putting brick pavers from a pallet pile into the bed of his pickup truck, the affidavit said. The deputy asked Tanelus what he was doing, and he said he was getting pavers for a project at home.

<div>Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office</div>
Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office

The man from Ocala told the deputy that he did not have permission to take the bricks, and the deputy told him that he's trespassing in a posted construction site.

The construction site has a sign that says the following, according to a photo from the Lake County Sheriff's Office: "WARNING: This area is a designated construction site. Anyone convicted of trespassing on this property shall be guilty of a felony."

<div>Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office</div>
Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office

The man in charge of the construction site was notified, and he said he wished to press charges.

Tanelus grabbed thirty 6x6 brick pavers and eighty 6x9 brick pavers, which have a total value of $510, according to the affidavit. They were all returned to the construction site upon Tanelus' arrest.

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Tanelus was taken into custody and transported to the Lake County Jail. His truck was turned over to a family member.

He has since been released after posting $4,000 bond.