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An alleged bicycle thief who targeted the Commodore Club condominium was on probation for a 2017 DUI manslaughter in the death of a Lyft driver and a host of other felonies, records show.

Nicholas James Castelao, 41, of Hialeah, was released from prison sentence in February. Police say he fled the Commodore Club complex on Oct. 3 after security recognized him as a suspect in another bike theft two days earlier. 

The security guard flagged down Key Biscayne Police Sgt. Gus Padron and Castelao surrendered, according to the arrest report. 

“The defendant confessed to stealing the victims bicycles and several other thefts from the same building,” the report states. “The defendant further stated that he and his friends would steal the bicycles to sell them.”

The investigation into stolen bikes at Commodore Club started on Oct. 1 when a resident contacted police to report his BMW Touring Brand bicycle, valued at $1,500, was taken from the Commodore Club parking garage. 

Two days later police reviewed security camera footage. “The two unknown males began to canvas the parking garage and select the victims’ bicycle as well as an electric bicycle,” according to the police report.

Later that day, one of the men matching the security footage returned. When a security guard asked what he was doing on the property, Castelao fled and was subsequently arrested, the report said.

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 “I think this was a good collaborative effort on behalf of the security guard and our sergeant on duty. Investigators are working hard to identify other suspects,” Police Chief Frank Sousa said.

“Since the arrest we haven’t had any e-bike thefts.” Sousa also said he was unaware of Castellano’s lengthy criminal history.

Nicholas James Castelao, arrested earlier this month on Key Biscayne for burglary and bike theft, was on probation for DUI manslaughter. (Photo: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Castelao pleaded not guilty and was given a $25,000 bond. However, records show was a hold placed upon his release because of the potential probation violation on the DUI manslaughter, four counts of DUI with serious bodily injury, grand theft auto and possession of controlled substance, among other charges.

Castelao, driving a stolen BMW, crashed head-on into a Volkswagen Jetta carrying four passengers on March 26, 2017, according to the charging document. Lyft driver Robert Torra was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said at the time of the crash three small baggies of crystal methamphetamine were found in Castelao’s clothing. 

While out on bond for the DUI manslaughter case, Castelao was arrested for another burglary, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said. 

With his bond revoked, Castelao stayed in jail until he was sentenced in December 2021 to five years in prison with credit for time served at the jail. He was also sentenced to 10 years probation.

He was released from prison this past February, according to the state attorney’s office, and he now is being held with no bond at the Miami-Dade Metro West Detention Center. 

Prosecutors filed a violation of probation on Oct. 6. Castelao’s arraignment on the bike theft and burglary charges is scheduled for Nov. 3.

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John Pacenti

JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.