Homeless woman uses FB Marketplace to sell stolen leaf blower back to owner –

A homeless woman was arrested after attempting to sell a stolen leaf blower on Facebook Marketplace back to its original owner when they met outside a Subway in Leesburg.

Jessica Marie Gioia
Jessica Marie Gioia

Officers responded to Subway, located at 27405 U.S. Hwy. 27, to assist a victim with retrieving his stolen property, later suspected to have been taken by 32-year-old Jessica Marie Gioia, around 5:20 p.m. June 9, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department. 

Prior to the officers’ arrival, the victim had reported a theft on June 7, which occurred at Midgard Storage, located at 27300 Catherine Street. He had several items stolen from the location, including a Stihl leaf blower. Earlier on Tuesday, he contacted an officer and gave him the serial numbers for the stolen property. These were later entered into a database, the report said. 

After the victim left, he began conducting his own investigation by checking Facebook Marketplace for his own stolen items. This was how he discovered his Stihl leaf blower for sale under profile name “Jessica Gioia.” He set up a meeting with her at Subway, the report said. 

Officers then met with the victim who advised that he found his stolen leaf blower for sale on Facebook Marketplace. He provided screenshots of a Facebook Messenger conversation with Gioia. The screenshots showed her profile picture which matched her appearance along with a listing for the sale of the leaf blower for $75, the report said. 

Gioia agreed to meet the victim at Subway at 5:30 p.m., advising she would be on a bicycle. At about 5:42 p.m., officers spotted her and a male walking toward the location. The man was holding the leaf blower, the report said. 

Both were subsequently detained. Officers found the serial number on the blower and discovered it was in fact stolen and belonged to the victim. It had been entered into the database as stolen earlier in the day. They then read rights to the man and Gioia, the report said. 

The male advised that he went to Gioia’s campsite and observed the blower next to her belongings. She told him that she was selling the blower at Subway and asked him to accompany her. He agreed and held the blower for her. He provided a sworn written statement attesting to this, the report said. 

Officers then spoke to Gioia who advised that she found the blower in her campsite. She was selling it online because she was homeless and needed the money. She was subsequently arrested, the report said. 

Officers proceeded to search Gioia and her backpack. Found inside the latter was a sealed fake $100 bill with a white crystal-like substance inside. This tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed about 3.8 grams. The backpack also contained Gioia’s Florida Quest card, Lake County Detention Center card and her Social Security card, the report said. 

Gioia was then transported to the LPD for the booking process. While there, she admitted to having previously been at the burglary location where the blower was stolen. She also stated that she charges her phone and uses the bathroom at the business, the report said. 

The New York native was charged with theft (dealing in stolen property) and possession of methamphetamine. She was transported to Lake County Jail and released after posting $7,500 bond. 

Gioia was also arrested in November for breaking into an unoccupied home to wash clothes and shower. 


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