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La Liga de Las Americas

Dear Chief Navarre,

I am writing you to seek your assistance in helping the Farm Labor Organizing Committee AFL-CIO address a series of auto thefts that have been occurring in the FLOC parking lot and surrounding neighborhood.

A crew of car thieves has been using FLOC’s parking lot at 1221 Broadway St to strip and ultimately steal cars. On two recent occasions that we are aware of—Friday November 9th and Tuesday November 13—a group of three men arrived in the FLOC parking lot between the hours of 3:30am and 4:30am, stole the car radios, and left the cars in the parking lot. We have everything digitally recorded on our video security system including pictures of the men and the get away car.

On Friday, the police were called at 9am in the morning by the owner of the stolen car. He was instructed by the police department to not touch the car and an officer will come to file a report. An officer never arrived, and the criminals came back at 1:40pm and drove the car away, which we also captured on tape. In other words, the thieves returned before the police and drove the evidence away. Even after this, the police still did not come, which we have on tape too.

On Tuesday, we called the police again when we found another stolen car in our parking lot. After much urging, an officer arrived and had the car towed. Shortly before the officer arrived, a suspicious red truck was watching the car from across the parking lot when staff arrived at 9am. He drove slowly through our parking lot looking at the car. Once he saw that he was being watched, he drove away. There is little doubt that had the car not been towed, the criminals would have driven the car away.

What concerns me most is the police officer, who arrived Tuesday morning and spoke with staff member Michael Hale, said that the auto theft investigators in the police department will most likely not follow up with an investigation—despite the fact that we have video evidence to aid the investigators. This lack of follow through is distressing seeing that this is most likely the work of an auto thief ring. We have a persistent problem that is negatively affecting both FLOC and the surrounding neighborhood. We know about the recent crimes because the cars were left behind; we are assuming however that this has been occurring for some time. We installed video surveillance last year after a series of thefts and vandalism to both cars and our property. The cameras have helped us reduce property crime, but auto theft continues to be a problem.

I am sure you can understand that the entire staff at FLOC feels a greater sense of unease after the brutal murder of our friend and staff member Santiago Rafael Cruz in our Mexico office. The presence of criminals on our property does not sit well with our staff or me. We have women staff members who sometimes stay very late or arrive very early in the morning, and they are rightly concerned about their safety.

With this in mind, we are asking the Toledo Police Department to help FLOC in the following ways:

1) Send investigators to view the video evidence we have collected. We can provide copies to investigators as well.

2) Consider sending patrol cars through the neighborhood between the hours of 3:30am and 5am when the crimes have been occurring.

3) Advise FLOC on how to work with the police department to protect its office and staff members and to deter criminals from using our property to commit crimes. Better yet, how about we work together to setup a sting to bust the whole criminal ring?

FLOC has enjoyed a good working relationship with the Toledo Police Department, and we hope that you can help us with this unfortunate problem.


Baldemar Velasquez





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