BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gregory Deatrick Beard, 44, of Starke, was arrested yesterday morning on warrants from four different cases, with 14 charges.
Beard is accused of stealing catalytic converters from various businesses in 2021. In one incident in June of 2021, video surveillance shows a man matching Beard’s description carrying a jack from his pickup truck, then using the jack to raise a vehicle before removing an unknown part from under the vehicle. The business reported that two catalytic converters had been stolen from their vehicles.
A second business also reported the theft of catalytic converters, along with a jack and power tools, in June of 2021. The total loss was about $8,500.
A third incident involved the theft of catalytic converters from two UF Health Shands buses near the ShandsCair Hangar in May of 2021.
In a fourth incident in June of 2021, the owner of the business reportedly heard someone sawing off the catalytic converters and chased him off, leaving behind two catalytic converters and a battery-powered cutting tool (sawzall).
In that incident, the man fled in a pickup truck and was chased by the business owner until the pickup crashed near NE 53rd Avenue and NE 15th Street. The man fled the area on foot and was not located at that time, but Gainesville Police Department towed the pickup truck and obtained a search warrant. Beard’s ID card was reportedly found in the truck, along with several sawzalls and two phones, one of which matched the number associated with Beard in the Florida probation system. Beard was also reportedly using the alias Craig Haywood, and an email address using that name was found on one of the phones.
The truck also matched a truck seen in surveillance video at UF Shands, leading detectives to identify Beard as the suspect in that theft.
Beard has eight felony convictions (6 violent) and is on probation for a charge of habitually driving without a valid license. He currently has pending cases for driving without a valid license in both Marion and Duval Counties. He has been charged with five counts of burglary and nine counts of grand theft. His bail for the four cases adds up to $525,000.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.