PALM COAST, FL – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) began investigating a commercial burglary on April 28, 2020, at Anthony’s Pizza at 250 Palm Coast Parkway Unit 405, Palm Coast, FL 32137. When an employee arrived for work at 7 a.m. that day, the store’s security alarm was sounding and the cash register was missing. The glass front door had been shattered by a suspect to gain entry to the business.
At the time of the report, the business owner noted that 30-year-old Joseph James Lacertosa had been fired from the business in February due to narcotics use. Employees had recently seen him driving behind the business, which seemed suspicious and they reported it to management.
The investigation into the burglary revealed evidence that a Honda CRV registered to Lacertosa was seen leaving 26 Woodlyn Lane, Lacertosa’s residence, at 12:23 a.m. the morning of the burglary. The vehicle was in the vicinity of Anthony’s Pizza around 1:09 a.m. and at 1:28 a.m., a vehicle similar in size and shape to the Honda CRV was seen quickly driving north through the parking lot of Island Walk Shopping Center, the same plaza as Anthony’s Pizza. The restaurant owner was notified by the security company at 1:31 a.m. that there was motion in the restaurant, but no response was requested at that time since there had recently been issues with the motion detection.
On May 8, 2020, while investigating a residential burglary where Lacertosa was a suspect, the victim of the burglary, who is friends with Lacertosa, told detectives that Lacertosa stated he was responsible for the smash and grab burglary at Anthony’s Pizza.
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On May 13, 2020, Lacertosa was arrested and charged with Burglary of a Dwelling during a State of Emergency, Dealing in Stolen Property, False Verification of Ownership, Grand Theft, and Criminal Mischief after burglarizing his friend’s house and pawning the stolen property for drug money.
On July 14, 2020, a warrant was signed for the arrest of Lacertosa on the charges of Commercial Burglary During a State of Emergency, Criminal Mischief, and Petit Theft. The bond was set at $37,500. Deputies in the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Problem Area Crime Enforcement (P.A.C.E.) team located Lacertosa at his residence and took him into custody. He was booked into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility.
“Detective Costello did another outstanding job by building the case using evidence, statements and technology, “ said Sheriff Rick Staly. “Just because we are dealing with COVID-19, criminals should understand we are still investigating and arresting criminals and there is a bed waiting for them at the Green Roof Inn.”
Lacertosa has a previous arrest history in Flagler County for Shoplifting, Grand Theft, Violation of Probation, Failure to Pay Child Support, Driving with a Suspended License, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage.