• Deputies: Brazilian tourists top target for thieves


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Brazilian tourists have become a top target for thieves in Central Florida, according to investigators in Orange County.

    Each year more Brazilians travel to Orlando for the theme parks and great shopping, according to Danielle Courtenay of Visit Orlando.

    "They will come here, buy suitcases. They will fill suitcases," said Courtenay.

    Courtenay said Brazil is Orlando's No. 3 international market and the faster growing for tourism.

    Deputies said 21-year-old Evald Grude, a clerk at the Hollister Store at the Florida Mall, used his job to get his hands on a Brazilian family's vacation money and went on a spending spree.

    Grude is accused of not returning a Brazilian tourist's pre paid credit card.

    According to arrest reports, Grude used the card to buy an iPad at the Apple Store, gas at a nearby 7-Eleven and a cart full of stuff at Target.

    According to Visit Orlando, massive efforts have been made to bring more Brazilians to the area, and that's why Courtenay said it's so disappointing to hear about what happened at the Florida Mall.

    "It could potentially have an impact, something we closely watch," said Courtenay.

    The Brazilian Consulate in Miami released statistics in early 2012 showing that once every three, days a Brazilian tourist is ripped off in Miami or Orlando.

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    Deputies: Brazilian tourists top target for thieves