Florida Gators license plate led cops to alleged meat thief
Cops had no trouble this week nabbing an alleged alligator meat thief — thanks in part to his University of Florida Gators novelty license plate that led them to his doorstep, police said.
Very-Florida man James Ellison, 30, was busted Tuesday by Port Orange police at his home, where they say found a veritable ocean’s worth of stolen seafood in his garage, including gator tail meat, tuna steaks and crab, according to an arrest report obtained by the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
The owners of Port Orange Seafood reported on April 30 that someone busted into its outside freezers and made off with the fishy haul, police said.
Investigators quickly identified Ellison as a suspect in the alleged heist after contacting deputies in Volusia County, where he was arrested for burglarizing a boat in April, the newspaper reports.
Video obtained by Volusia County deputies during their investigation showed that Ellison was driving a Hyundai with a Florida Gators license plate on its front grill at time of the alleged boat burglary.
The footage also showed Ellison had a distinctive tattoo of his daughters’ names on his hand, deputies said.
Port Orange police then spotted that same tattoo and the Florida Gators license plate in video surveillance footage from the seafood store, according to an arrest report.
Ellison’s wife later confirmed his identity and accused him of stealing from the store several other times. She also said Ellison had stolen firearms, fishing equipment and other items from people’s front lawns, police said.
Detectives executed a search warrant at Ellison’s home Tuesday after learning that he had allegedly sold some of the stolen property at pawn shops in Holly Hill, police said.
Ellison, who was charged with two counts of armed burglary, remained jailed Wednesday without bail, the newspaper reports.
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