A 75-year-old Boca Raton woman has died after a delivery man struck her in the head with a wooden mallet and set her on fire, Boca Raton police announced Tuesday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, the victim succumbed to her injuries and has passed away,” Boca Raton police spokesman Mark Economou said in a statement. “We offer our sincere condolences to her family and loved ones.”
Jorge Luis Dupre Lachazo, 21, of Hialeah, was helping truck driver David Gonzalez deliver a washer and dryer to a home in the Colonnades at Glen Oaks neighborhood about 9 a.m. Monday, investigators said. They were working for JB Home Delivery, a company subcontracted by Best Buy.
Before the woman died, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry issued a statement Tuesday that said the company has suspended its relationship with JB Home Delivery and is working with police.
“We are profoundly sorry and offer our deepest sympathies to our customer and her family,” Barry wrote. “Out of respect for them, we have closed our Boca Raton store [Tuesday].”
The statement also said Best Buy would revisit its delivery and installation programs, and hire an independent security firm to review existing screening, auditing and safety procedures.
According to the arrest report, Gonzalez and Lachazo had just removed the old washer and dryer and installed the new appliances in the laundry room near the two-car garage.
Gonzalez, 48, went back to his JB Home Delivery truck to return several missed calls from the office. Lachazo remained inside the home to show the woman how to use the new appliances.
Minutes later, Gonzalez heard several screams and saw the garage door closing. He went into the house through the front door and saw the woman on the blood-stained floor near the laundry room and bathroom, the report said.
Lachazo was the only other person inside the house and Gonzalez told police his colleague was acting strange. He told Gonzalez they needed to leave. Gonzalez went outside to call his supervisor and then 911. Lachazo jumped in the truck and drove away, detectives said.
Police stopped the white box truck in the 7100 block of W. Glades Road. They said Lachazo was sweating and shaking. He was wearing short pants and the hairs on his lower legs were burnt and had ash on them. He was taken to Boca Raton Regional Hospital for treatment.
When investigators searched the house they found blood on the tile floor of the laundry room and burn marks on the washing machine and walls. There was charred debris and clothing on the floor and a strong chemical odor in the air.
A bloody wooden mallet was on the washing machine and glass wine bottle with blood and hair was on the floor. A pair of broken prescription glasses was between the washer and dryer, police said.
In the kitchen, a can of acetone was near the stove that was pulled away from the wall. Investigators later determined Lachazo’s fingerprints were on the can and its white plastic cap was on the laundry room floor.
During police questioning, Lachazo admitted to knocking the woman unconscious by hitting her on the left side of her head with the mallet. Then, he closed the garage door, got the acetone from the garage, and spread the chemical around the laundry room, but Lachazo said he didn’t know how it ignited.
Lachazo also admitted to recently using marijuana and cocaine, police said.
Jorge Luis Dupre Lachazo, 21, of Hialeah was working for a subcontractor of Best Buy and delivering a washer and dryer to a home in Boca Raton Monday when police say he attacked a woman with a wooden mallet and set her on fire.