Curtis Gottlieb landed a job delivering wings in Coral Springs, but he flew the coop the very night he was hired, taking with him several food orders, cash and the restaurant’s car sign, said his boss of only a few hours.
“He was my employee for maybe four hours,” said Wing Zone owner Mark Paciello. “He did good the first couple deliveries, but then I never heard from him again.”
Broward sheriff’s investigators say the food run was the beginning of a two-week crime spree for Gottlieb, 23, who is now in jail and accused in 12 home burglaries that took place inside of an exclusive gated neighborhood in Parkland — the same neighborhood he lives in.
The thievery took place within days and within blocks of Gottlieb’s home at the Parkland Golf and Country Club community. Most of the stolen items were high-end racing bikes and golf clubs that were pilfered from open or unlocked garages. The homes were hit during daylight hours, and in several cases, the victims were inside.
Sheriff’s Detective Brian Goolsby said the thefts were so brazen, it was easy to finger a suspect.
“The number of burglaries in those two weeks pretty much accounted for almost all the burglaries we get in a year,” Goolsby said. “We know this is a hard-to-get-into gated community. We had a feeling right away that it had to be at least someone who lives there or has access.”
Gottlieb’s defense attorney, Michael Gottlieb, who is unrelated to his client, said Friday it was too early to comment.
Goolsby said it appears Gottlieb simply drove around in a Dodge Magnum and searched for easy targets. Among the stolen loot included a Scott Plasma racing bike valued at $6,600 and a set of Adams golf clubs valued at $3,460, according to arrest reports.
All together, investigators estimate that approximately $36,000 worth of items were taken. Paciella estimated his loss at about $1,200, which includes a $800 car-top restaurant sign and a $200 hot wings thermo-bag.
Gottlieb allegedly pawned most of the bikes and golf clubs at the same Coral Springs pawn shop, scoring $350 for a $5,000 Guru racing bike in one case, $300 for a $4,000 racing bike a different day, according to the reports. Deputies found most of the items there.
The home burglaries began Feb. 16 — three days after Gottlieb allegedly vanished with Paciello’s wings.
They continued through March 4 when a vigilant resident — a victim from a previous burglary — noticed a man entering a neighbor’s garage. The woman called the neighbor, who was walking her dog at the time. The two women and the dog chased the man briefly down the street, but he got away in a Dodge Magnum, Goolsby said.
Using car registration records, investigators were able to trace a Dodge Magnum owned by someone in the neighborhood. Goolsby said they immediately recognized Gottlieb’s name because the Coral Springs Police had recently put out a “be on the look out” bulletin related to the stolen chicken wings case.
Deputies arrested Gottlieb on March 5 after he left his house in a Dodge Magnum. He allegedly confessed to the thefts, authorities said
At the time of his arrest, Gottlieb was out on bond on a Coral Springs police case where he is accused of trafficking hydromorphone, a pain medication, according to court records.
Investigators said the case illustrates the importance of securing personal property even inside of an exclusive community.
“Lock your doors, lock your garages,” Goolsby said. “I know its wrong to have to live and feel that way, but there are potential for thefts everywhere.”
Gottlieb was being held on Friday at the Broward Main Jail on 46 counts of burglary-related charges, according to jail records. A Broward judge earlier this week revoked Gottlieb’s bond on the drug trafficking case.
Investigators said most of the residents will likely receieve their stolen items back. Piacello said he just wants his chicken wings car-sign returned.
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