Man believed to have stolen bikes from Salvage Santa arrested

Investigators arrested Christopher Fernandes Wednesday. He's facing multiple charges. (WJHG/WECP)
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) -- Bay County Sheriff's Deputies say the bikes were stolen from a self-storage unit on Sherman Avenue in July.

Investigators say they learned Tuesday some of the missing bikes were seen at a home on Happyville Road. They say the owner of the property let investigators search the area. They report finding a new bike behind a shed and one in a truck on the property.

Deputies developed Christopher Fernandes, 40, of Youngstown, as a suspect.

Witnesses tell deputies Fernandes was seen bringing the bicycles, still in boxes, on the property and heard him bragging he took the bikes "from a cop." The bikes were stolen from Mike Jones, Chief of Security and Police for Bay District Schools. Jones is known in our area as Salvage Santa because he fixes up bikes and gives them to children in Bay County each year at Christmas.

Wednesday, deputies pulled Fernandes over. He denied taking any bikes. Fernandes told deputies they could search his vehicle. Inside they say they found a child's bike that had recently spray-painted red. Investigators were able to identify the bike as the same make and models stolen. Also inside the vehicle, a short-barreled 12 Gauge shotgun with a modified grip, according to deputies.

Fernandes is charged with burglary of a dwelling, grand theft, and possession of a short-barreled gun.

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