Miami-Dade police display $300,000 in stolen power tools; whose are they?

Handyman heaven? A Miami-Dade police station displayed $300,000 in stolen items, mainly power tools, so the rightful owners could reclaim them, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012.
CBS Miami/Silva Harapetian
(CBS/Miami Lakes) - The parking lot at the Miami-Dade Police's Northwest District looked like a gigantic garage sale Saturday, or an episode of Home Improvement. On display: more than 700 items, mostly stolen power tools, which detectives value at $300,000, according to CBS Miami.

Police said they recovered all the items - including saws, drills, hedgers, generators, you name it - from the Opa-Locka home of 61-year-old Rafael Sofia.

Detectives said Sophia has operated a booth at the Opa-Locka Flea Market for the last 10 years. Investigators said he would buy the construction equipment from thieves across Florida, then re-sell the equipment, CBS Miami reported.

Roilan Gomez owns a small landscaping business. He showed up at the police district hoping to find his stolen tools...and he did.

Gomez said his truck, trailer and all his tools - worth about $8500.00 - were stolen several weeks ago. He said he thought about getting out of the business but he had some help from friends and family.

"I started to work because between family and friends they started to loan me the equipment and necessary tools to help me do what I need to do. Imagine since November 3rd to this day I haven't been able to sleep. I think I'm going to sleep tonight," Gomez told CBS Miami.

Hundreds of tools including air compressors, drills, drill press, angle grinders, chain saws, hammer drills, nail guns, pole saws, precision lasers, and pressure washers were there for the re-taking both Saturday and Sunday.

Police only asked that anyone believing they'd find their stolen tools should bring receipts, police reports and anything else to serve as proof of ownership.

As for Rafael Sofia, he is facing 7 counts of dealing in stolen property. As the items' owners come forward, police said his list of charges will grow.