Det. Brent Hoosac of the Jupiter (Fla.) Police Department was instrumental in uncovering a burglary ring that was involved in 75 high-end residential burglaries and stole approximately $15 million worth of property. For his efforts in solving this case and his dedication to his job and community he has been recognized as the May 2012 Officer of the Month by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Of the 18 years he's spent at the Jupiter Police Department, Hoosac has focused on economic crimes for 10 and served on a money-laundering task force for part of that time. As part of his agency's Criminal Investigation Section, one of the bigger cases he's worked on involved a string of burglaries that occurred in 2009.
A multi-agency task force established to investigate the burglaries determined the ring was based in Miami, had hit a wall and were unable to make any arrests. That was until Hoosac began delving into the suspects' financial records.
After much research, he saw a pattern in banking records that revealed a link in Georgia. It appeared the owner of a discount jewelry store in Miami was buying the stolen jewelry from the burglary suspects and sending it to Georgia to be sold there. Hoosac and two colleagues flew to Georgia to confront and arrest the man who had been selling the stolen jewelry and depositing the profits back into the bank account of the jewelry store owner in Miami.
"All in all we ended up arresting the guy in Georgia, the guy who was buying the jewelry down in Miami, and we confronted the burglary suspects and did the search warrants," says Hoosac. "In the end, we got confessions from the suspects, and through their plea deal we searched their house and found $100,000 in cash from the main suspect in the case."
As part of their plea deal, the two main suspects, a man and his uncle, showed Hoosac and his colleagues where they committed every burglary and how they had done it. There had been more than 75 burglaries committed by the same family over many years.
"They had committed $15M worth of burglaries," the detective says. "We arrested them for racketeering, money laundering, dealing in stolen property, burglary, a number of different charges."
Hoosac insists he was simply a part of the collaboration that led to these arrests, but admits investigating economic crimes is a natural fit for him. "I'm a detail-oriented person, and you have to be. If you do drug cases, the suspects can dump the drugs and you’re left with nothing. With economic crimes, there’s a paper trail. I like putting together that puzzle."
But that doesn't mean all he does is stare at numbers all day. Not being a large agency, the Jupiter Police Department still counts on its 110 officers to handle a wide range of calls at all times. "With my agency you can be specialized, but you still have to be able to work any type of case—shootings, stabbings—whatever case comes along when we're on call," Hoosac says.
In addition to working economic crimes and other cases at Jupiter PD, he serves as vice president of the Palm Beach County Economic Crime Unit, a group of public and private industry fraud investigators that meets monthly. And for the past six years he has organized the unit's annual seminar, which 140 investigators from across south Florida attended last year. He firmly believes that with the growing number of economic crimes and the rapid pace with which technology is changing, at least one person at every agency should stay up on the specifics to keep other investigators in the loop. He recommends and depends on two organizations as resources: the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators and the National White Collar Crime Center.
After 20 years in law enforcement, Hoosac still enjoys his work, including the wide range of cases he gets to investigate. He has received two life-saving awards, among other accolades. And he is heavily involved in video forensics, processing videos for the Jupiter Police Department and other local, state, and federal agencies.
Hoosac also finds time to give local informational seminars to educate seniors and other groups of citizens so they won't be victimized by scams, something he gets great satisfaction from. He says, "If you can prevent a crime from happening then you've done your job just as much as if you solve a crime."