MELBOURNE, Florida – A tow truck driver working for Imperial Towing was arrested after he stole a customer’s handgun from their vehicle, according to the Melbourne Police Department.
Tommy Nelson Mendez, 47, was charged with Grand Theft Firearm, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Both charges are felonies.
The victim called Imperial Towing Sunday night to have his car towed from Applebee’s to Toyota of Melbourne. The victim rode with the driver during the tow.
Once they reached Toyota of Melbourne, Mendez removed the vehicle from the tow truck and parked it. He then went into the car dealership to use the restroom. When he came back, the victim asked Mendez about his Glock 17 9mm handgun.
Mendez denied stealing the firearm from the victim’s car, so the police were called.
Mendez told officers that he parked the vehicle and went to use the men’s restroom. However, there was a foul odor in the men’s room, so he used the woman’s instead.
“I then reported to the female’s restroom (adjacent to the male’s restroom) with the manager of the facility. The Glock handgun was located in the trash receptacle,” the officer said.
When confronted about the handgun in the women’s room, Mendez proclaimed his innocence. When police stated the firearm would be processed for prints, Mendez said he touched “something black” in the vehicle. He then explained that he touched it by “pushing it back” into the door pouch.
The Melbourne Police Department said Mendez has a criminal history that shows 10 felony convictions. He was taken to the Brevard County Jail.
DISCLAIMER: Arrests and mugshots were made public by complaint affidavits, arrest affidavits, and police reports. All persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty.
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