Winter Park man charged with 80-plus trespasses at Iron Horse Resort
March 2, 2017
An extensive series of unauthorized entries into several dozen units at the Iron Horse Resort in Winter Park has resulted in an arrest and charges of criminal trespassing.
On Tuesday Feb. 28 officers from the Fraser/Winter Park Police Department responded to the Iron Horse Resort on a report of a burglary. A resident of the complex reported to authorities someone had entered his unit and removed a pill bottle containing prescription narcotics.
While they were still on-scene, another resident of the complex informed officers he had come home from skiing and found an unknown man inside his unit. The man told authorities he discovered later that prescription narcotics were missing from his unit as well.
According to police officials, "When confronted, the male identified himself as an employee with one of the property management units at the resort." Authorities said the unit's owner told the man the management company he referenced is not responsible for his unit and told the man he should not have been inside his condominium.
Additionally officials received reports from two additional condo owners on the property that someone had, "gained unauthorized entry into their units," according to police statements.
When officers confronted the employee, Neal Patel of Winter Park, with questions related to the incident, he admitted to using an administrative pass code to enter approximately 10 different units in the larger Iron Horse complex along with other private residences in Winter Park. The employee denied he took anything from any of the units. Reviews of lock records at the Iron Horse property revealed the administrative pass code had been used to enter or attempt to enter 83 individual condominium properties a total of 218 different times over a seven day time period.
Police officials stated, "It is not believed that any of these entries were done as part of this employee's job duties."
Patel, 24, was arrested and charged with five counts of first degree criminal trespass, a class 4 felony. Patel was transported to Grand County Jail and later posted a $5,000 bond.
A press release from the Fraser/Winter Park PD added the department is, "working with management staff at the Iron Horse Resort to identify all of the property owners who units were entered to determine if an other items are missing. Upon discovery of the entries, staff immediately removed that access code from all locks on the property.