• Florida man pleads guilty to breaking into Secret Service car

    By: Julius Whigham II , Palm Beach Post

    Updated:

    A Riviera Beach man pleaded guilty this week to breaking into and stealing items from a U.S. Secret Service vehicle during a March visit by President Donald Trump to Palm Beach County.

    Federal authorities say that on March 19, Cleveland Cooley Jr., 36, broke into a Secret Service vehicle parked at a Courtyard by Marriott near Palm Beach International Airport and tried to sell items he stole online.

    Cooley faces sentencing on June 30 before U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra. He faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison on the charge of theft of government property, as well as three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

    According to a criminal complaint, Cooley stole two Panasonic Toughbook tablets, a wireless modem, a First Aid trauma kit and a tripod kit.


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    He tried to sell one of the tablets using the online marketplace OfferUp, authorities said.

    Another vehicle burglary was reported at about the same time a nearby Doubletree hotel, the complaint said. Video surveillance showed two people traveling in a dark-colored Chevrolet four-door sedan.

    Secret Service agents coordinated with West Palm Beach police and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to conduct an undercover purchase of the tablet. Cooley was arrested after an undercover officer met him at an area Walgreens.

    While in custody, Cooley admitted to breaking into the Secret Service vehicle and stealing items. He told investigators he was assisted by two people he identified as “Arties” and “Trey.”

    It was not clear if any other suspects were arrested.

    President Trump was in Palm Beach County that weekend for a visit to his estate on Mar-a-Lago. It was not clear whether the Secret Service vehicle was part of his security detail.

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