by: Messod Bendayan, FCSO Public Affairs Office Manager
A man stole a $60,000 piece of construction equipment and drove it 2.5 miles down State Road A1A on Aug. 6, crushing fire hydrants, fiber-optic equipment and mailboxes as he went.
At approximately 8 am, deputies responded to the report of a subject operating a large piece of construction equipment and driving it on the sidewalk in Beverly Beach at 3771 N. Ocean Shore Blvd.
When deputies arrived, they stopped a 56-year-old transient man, Randy Lee Wealand, operating a JLG Lull telehandler alongside A1A.
A bicycle and lawnmower were hanging from the tele handler’s front boom.
The investigation found that Wealand entered a construction site and stole the $60,000 Lull, then took it on a 2.5-mile trip south along A1A to Beverly Beach.
Wealand drove the Lull over two fire hydrants, over a Charter Communications fiber node, resident mailboxes and broke several sections of public sidewalk. The damage he caused is estimated at more than $10,000.
“This criminal career decided to go on a joy ride with a large piece of construction equipment”, Sheriff Rick Staly said, “Wealand would have caused more damage if he was not stopped and apprehended by deputies. Another win for ‘see something, say something, so a special thank you to the citizens who called us and helped prevent this dirtbag from continuing its dangerous path of destruction.”
Wealand has an extensive criminal history in Pennsylvania (three felony convictions), with arrests for criminal mischief, trespassing, DUI, theft, burglary, receiving stolen property, DWLS, unsworn falsification to authority, harassment, public drunkenness, loitering and prowling.
He also has a records in Florida (and eight felony convictions), for grand theft auto, burglary, petit theft, DUI, boating under the influence, trespassing, battery on LEO, criminal mischief, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill , battery on person over 65, exploitation of elderly less than $20,000, aggressive solicitation, disorderly intoxication, impersonate LEO, resist officer without violence, breach of peace disorderly conduct, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, grand theft, improper exhibition of dangerous weapon, simple assault, fraud, possession of controlled substance without prescription.
This arrest is his only arrest here in Flagler County. Wealand was arrested for grand theft, theft from a construction site, felony criminal mischief, and trespass on a construction site. He was transported to the Sheriff Perry Hall Detention Facility where he is being held on a $12,500 Bond.