SUSPECT NOT ARRESTED UNTIL MULTIPLE SALES

A recent News4Jax story gives details into the arrest of Reco Benefield and Amber Troutman for drug charges and child neglect.   The news report states that an undercover Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Detective met with Benefield to purchase crack cocaine on January 11, 2017.   After the alledged  hand to hand drug sale was completed a takedown signal was given and  Benefield was taken into custody.  The same Detectives apparently had previously purchased crack cocaine from Benefield on December 15, 2016.  Benefield was also out on bond for 2016 Drug Charges dealing with the Sale of Pills (Oxycodone and Dilaudid) as well as crack cocaine on September 13, 2016 and September 14, 2016.

EVERYDAY TECHNOLOGY AND CELL PHONE USE COMES BACK TO HAUNT THE ACCUSED

Benefield’s cases all involve Undercover Narcotics Detectives utilizing cell phones to contact Benefield as well as to text Benefield.  The live phone calls between Benefield and JSO certainly will be recorded as evidence setting up the transactions.  Further it is fairly simple for JSO to print out copies of the text messages to utilize as evidence against Benefield.  Video recording devices are also often utilized to capture the transactions and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Arrest and Booking Reports reflect that they were used in all of the transactions with Benefield.

Mr. Benefield already has a tough road in front of him.  Each drug sale he is charged with carries a maximum of 15 years in Florida State Prison.  He currently has four separate and individual sales.  The maximum Benefield faces on just the drug sales is 60 years in Florida State Prison.  Further the State of Florida will be able to try each sale individually against Benefield.  Benefield would have to be found not guilty at trial four separate times.  The State of Florida can sit down and pick which case to try first, likely their strongest one.  The State of Florida gets to choose which case is tried first, as they have the burden to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.  Many times, the local police will set up several “buys” with the same dealer.  Rather than arresting the dealer after the first sale, the police will leave a known dealer on the street, knowing full well that he or she is still selling.  The objective is to load the soon to be arrested dealer up with multiple cases.  If undercover police or a confidential informant conduct a purchase of drugs and the seller is arrested on the spot, that is called a “buy-bust.”  Here, the method employed originally was a “buy-walk” where the drugs were bought but law enforcement did not arrest the seller until later, and when arrested later, that was a “buy-bust” arrest.   The accused is entitled under the rules of discovery to see all of the evidence against him. In most of these drug sale cases the police have fairly decent videos of the transactions.  It is not known to this writer if the videos of Benefield show him doing anything illegal.  While he awaits trial he is also presumed to be innocent.

A NEW ARREST WHILE OUT ON BOND EQUALS A BOND REVOCATION

Since Mr. Benefield was out on bond for his earlier drug sales accusations, he likely will remain in the Duval County Jail until his cases resolve.  Anytime an individual is arrested for new charges, commonly referred to as “New Law Violations,” the State of Florida is able to file a Motion to Revoke Bond.  All that is required by the State to have a Motion to Revoke Bond Granted, is that probable cause existed for the arrest of Benefield on new charges.  Attaching an Arresting and Booking Sheet is all that is typically needed.  The State of Florida filed a Motion to Revoke bond against Benefield, which is almost automatically  heard by the Judge.  The Judge heard the State’s motion and in fact revoked Benefield’s bond on January 18, 2017.  Benefield is now being held with No Bond until his case is resolved.  Possibly down the road Benefield’s lawyer may be able to file a Motion to Set Bond, similar to a Motion to Reduce Bond, however the chances of the Court granting that motion are very slim. One additional concern, for those defendants that remain in jail, is the recording of all phone calls they make.  Local Prosecutors have made hundreds of cases simply because the inmate or his or her family bring up and discuss the facts of the case, even with a recorded warning issued at the start of every call.

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Teens Steal Purses in Coordinated Theft

A recent report by News4Jax states that nearly $18,000 of high end purses were stolen from a Kate Spade store at the St. Augustine Outlet Mall.  The theft happened during normal business hours.  The police report states that between seven or eight teens “burst” into the store, spread out, and grabbed 46 handbags/purses and ran out of the store.  A store employee attempted to block the door, but was unable to stop the thieves.  The teens were observed getting into a vehicle and the tag number was forwarded to law enforcement.

This style of theft is commonly referred to as a “Flash Mob.”  The goal is to get enough people involved knowing that a small store will not have the man power loss prevention people in place to stop everyone involved.  Here the seven to eight teens were able to storm the store and take 46 handbags/purses, and the employees of Kate Spade were not able to stop a single teen.  Across the country these types of thefts have occurred on a larger scale at larger retailers like WalMart and Target.

SANTA COULD MISS CHRISTMAS

On December 19, 2016 undercover detectives from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested Isaac Earl Geiger for several narcotics charges.  Per a News4Jax story, the Sheriff’s office were conducting an investigation on Golfair Boulevard based on recent complaints regarding drugs and/or illegal narcotics.  During the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office noticed Geiger standing at the door of a U-Haul rental truck in the parking lot.   Geiger was dressed in a red Santa Suit.  The Sheriff’s Office reports that they observed Geiger go to and from the U-Haul several times, retrieving items, and walking away.  Upon Geiger detecting the police presence, Geiger fled on foot.  The report states that Geiger “Tripped” over his Santa pants while fleeing from the police.  While being taken into custody, Geiger refused to take his hands out from underneath his body.  A search of Geiger revealed a large sum of cash and a plastic baggie containing narcotics.  The Sheriff’s Office returned to the U-Haul and observed a large amount of marijuana in plain view on the driver’s seat of the U-Haul.   A search of the U-Haul revealed additional marijuana, a scale, MDMA commonly referred to as ecstasy, Molly (another purer form of MDMA) and additional money.  It is unclear based on the report if Geiger was the target of the complaints or not. Geiger was arrested and charged with several violations of Florida State Statute 893.13 which deals with illegal drug possession, sale of drugs, possession of drugs with intent to sell, and paraphernalia.  Specifically, Geiger was charged with three counts of Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Sell within 1000 Feet Public Housing (First Degree Felony), two counts of Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Sell within 1000 Feet of Public Housing (Second Degree Felony), Resisting an Officer without Violence (First Degree Misdemeanor), and Possession with Intent to Use Drug Paraphernalia (First Degree Misdemeanor).

THESE CHARGES COULD MEAN SANTA MISSES THE NEXT FEW CHRISTMASES

Geiger faces a maximum of one hundred and twenty two years in the Florida State Prison system as he is currently charged.  The defendant faces thirty years for each first degree felony, fifteen years for each second degree felony, and one year for each first degree misdemeanor.   However, the State likely is barred from filing multiple counts regarding the same illegal substance.  For example the State likely will be unable to prove two separate counts of Possession of Marijuana or three separate counts of Possession of MDMA. Furthermore, it is almost impossible for the State to file and prove that the Narcotics found inside of the U-Haul were placed or possessed there with the intent to sell.  Even with large sums of money, scales, and even a confession that narcotics were possessed with the intent to sell at a later date is usually not enough for a conviction.

Another burden the State will have to overcome is the “Possession” element of the crimes charged.  Florida law defines Possession in two ways, Actual Possession and Constructive Possession (Florida State Statute 893.13(6)).  Actual Possession means the person is aware of the presence of the substance and the substance is in the hand of or on the person, or, the substance is in a container in the hand of or on the person, or the substance is so close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of a person.  If Geiger actually did have a plastic baggie containing narcotics in his Santa suit, then the State may move forward under the actual possession theory as the argument is that the substance is within ready reach and is under the control of the person.   Constructive possession means the person is aware of the presence of the substance, the substance is in a place which the person has control, and the person has the ability to control the substance.  Mere Proximity to a substance is not sufficient to establish the power and intention to control that substance when the substance is in a place that the person does not control.  All of the items found within the U-Haul the State will be required to prove the defendant’s knowledge and control.  This is often times were the hiring of defense lawyer  comes in to play.  Often times the defense attorney is able to have cases completely dropped based on this very simple analysis of the Florida Law defining possession. Continue reading

INVESTIGATION LEADS TO ARREST AND RESIGNATION

According to a report, a Jacksonville firefighter has resigned his employment following his arrest for petit theft.  Firefighter Joshua Williams was arrested on November 22, 2016, subsequent to an investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Integrity Unit. Williams was assigned to a “tactical support unit” keeping himself busy delivering supplies to various fire stations around town.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office had received a complaint regarding several thefts of money at different fire stations throughout town.  It was determined that Williams had been present at the various stations where the money came up missing.  Police set up a sting operation by placing cash inside a fire station’s kitchen area.  The kitchen area was placed under video surveillance.  Williams made a delivery to this station and upon his departure it was determined that $167.00 of cash placed in the kitchen by the police integrity unit was missing.  Police detained Williams at a nearby gas pump and located the missing $167.00.

MARKED MONEY

A common tactic used by Law Enforcement is to “Mark the Bills” or record the serial numbers on cash used in sting operations.  It is especially common in narcotics related investigations where law enforcement purchases illegal narcotics from a drug dealer.  When the drug dealer is arrested the goal is to catch him or her with the same dollar bills handed over by law enforcement.  In the case of Williams, the integrity unit photocopied the bills’ serial numbers before placing them inside of the station’s kitchen.   Since serial numbers are unique, the integrity unit can now show that Williams possessed the stolen money from within the Station’s Kitchen.

AMOUNT OR ITEM STOLEN TYPICALLY DICTATES THE CHARGE

There are several different types of theft charges in the State of Florida governed by Florida State Statute Chapter 812.  The most common are Petit Theft and Grand Theft.  Often times the difference between the charge being a Felony Theft Charge or Misdemeanor Theft Charge is the amount of money the item is valued at or what particular item was stolen.    In Florida if the amount stolen is valued at more than $300.00 the charge involved is Grand Theft, a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison.  If the amount is valued at $100.00 or more but less than $300.00 the charge involved is a Petit Theft, a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in the County Jail.  If the amount involved is less than $100.00 the charge is Petit Theft, a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in the County Jail. Certain items stolen are automatically considered Grand Theft regardless of the amount the item is worth.  For example if someone were to steal a firearm, regardless of the value, the individual could face a felony Grand Theft charge.In the case of Williams, he faces a first degree misdemeanor Petit Theft based on the amount of cash stolen totaling $167.00.  It is not known if the Integrity Unit placed more cash inside of the kitchen in an attempt to have Williams steal a felony amount which would be $300.00 or more. Continue reading

FLORIDA AMENDMENT #2 TO EXPAND MEDICAL MARIJUANA GETS 71.3% OF VOTES

Florida voters took to the polls on November 8, 2016, this last Tuesday to decide the heated political race for the white house.  In Florida, as in many states, there were what could be characterized as marijuana legalization amendments on the ballots.  Several states are apparently receptive to the idea of medically prescribed marijuana and more states are moving to the legalization of marijuana for what is termed “recreational” use.  According to a report,  the majority of voting citizens in every county in Florida voted in favor of Amendment 2. This amendment, a version of which failed two years ago, passed with the serious efforts and financial contributions of powerhouse Orlando trial attorney, John Morgan, of the Morgan and Morgan firm. For months as this writer was entering or exiting the Duval County Courthouse, activists with clipboards were gathering signatures on petititons in support of this movement.  Under the terms of the amendment, people suffering from “debilitating illnesses” can have medical marijuana prescribed to them by their physician.  This medical marijuana is to be regulated by the Department of Health. The states of Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota also voted like Florida to allow medical use of marijuana. Now 29 states are looking to have legalized medical marijuana.

SEVERAL STATES NOW ALLOW RECREATIONAL USE OF MARIJUANA

Citizens in the states of California, Massachusetts and Nevada voted to allow the legal smoking of weed.  For some reason this is termed “recreational” use.  This writer has never heard alcoholic beverages being bought or consumed for “recreational” use.  Perhaps it is just a term used to distinguish casual weed smoking from the prescribed use designated by one’s health care provider. The following states had already legalized weed: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia. This legalization also includes the government taxation that comes along with it. Continue reading

PENDING PROMOTIONS PLACED ON HOLD

The content of the most recent promotional exam administered to the approximately 70 Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies striving to make the rank of sergeant or lieutenant may have been leaked in advance.  According to a report, and statements made by outgoing Sheriff Rick Beesler’s department along with quotes directly from incoming Sheriff-elect Darryl Daniels, apparently some deputies who took the test may have had advance knowledge of what was to be included on the exam.  Incoming Sheriff Daniels has stated that officers who received a promotion based upon this compromised exam will have to resume their former rank until a new test can be administered.  Taking off rank in the world of law enforcement or the military is not a small move.  While physically all the officer has to do is unpin his lieutenant bars on his collar or cut the sergeant stripes off of his sleeves, the amount of authority leaving the deputy coupled with a probable change in duty assignment is huge. If officers had been promoted, then demoted, one obvious change would be the officer’s pay reverting to the former, less paying position.  Promotional testing of police officers usually involves the hiring of an outside firm to develop, administer and score the written test.  Officers then usually go before oral review boards of higher ranking officers in their own department.  According to the news article, Sheriff Beesler is conducting an investigation.

“THE INTEGRITY OF THE RESULTS HAVE BEEN CALLED INTO QUESTION”

That quote is from, according to news media, a statement issued by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.  In other words, Sheriff Beesler must have concerns that some officers had advance knowledge of what was on the exam.  Some officers may have gained an unfair advantage over their fellow officers.  Perhaps the most qualified officers didn’t score as high as those who had the inside track on the questions.

“THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROCESS IS MOST IMPORTANT”

That’s a quote, according to news reports, of incoming Sheriff Darryl Daniels.  Incoming Sheriff Daniels also stated he was “disappointed to learn of the leak” due to the amount of time and effort officers devote into getting a good score. Daniels is further quoted, “if they truly want the promotion, they’ll do whatever it takes to apply themselves to do the same thing they did before to reach the position they did the first time.” This investigation is ongoing and this writer has no information on how that is proceeding.  With the outgoing Sheriff questioning the integrity of the test results and the incoming Sheriff questioning the integrity of the test process, it begs the question if any officers used the information to cheat.  If cheaters are uncovered, hopefully they will be removed from the department at a minimum.  This would preclude them from just retaking the test and “doing the same thing they did before” to gain an advantage over their fellow officers.

NO MENTION OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE OFFICERS

This writer’s position is that although the integrity of the test results(sheriff #1 concern) and the integrity of the process(sheriff #2 concern) are valid concerns, these are not the real integrity concerns.  The test results and the process, the integrity of both being questioned by top leadership, if compromised, could only have been compromised by someone knowing what was on the exam and some amount of officers who had that knowledge passed along to them.  The test results will probably never be public information; however, something was noted as being out of the ordinary.  If this test was compromised, it was most probably compromised by law enforcement.  Bottom line is that law enforcement cannot even trust their own.  The lack of integrity of the results and process can only be due to, as a perception at present, a lack of integrity by law enforcement.  Hopefully, any and all cheaters that happen to be uncovered are removed from sworn law enforcement.  If an officer would cheat on an exam to bypass his fellow officer careerwise, would he be above cheating, or doing “whatever it takes” to effect an arrest of a suspect or cheating on his attempts to create an honest affidavit for a warrant to submit to a judge? Also, it appears that the current Sheriff is conducting this investigation utilizing the department’s own integrity unit.  The public might question how a department that potentially  compromised test results and the testing process could conduct an impartial, uncompromised investigation of itself. Continue reading

Students Arrested Were 17, 18 and 19 Years of Age, Dodged a Sex Crime

According to a report, three male students at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville were arrested in April for having sex with a female student on school grounds.  The four students met up at a athletic field house on the high school campus.  One of the male students filmed portions of the sexual activity that occurred.  It appears the allegations came forth from the victim when she was being questioned about being late for class or asking for a “late” pass. Two of the young men went to the police station and were arrested.  Another young man was arrested days later.  They were all charged with Lewd or Lascivious Battery and also Lewd Battery with enticement of a person less than 16 years old to engage in any type of sexual activity.  A conviction of either charge would have devastated these young men with incarceration and the lifelong requirement of sex offender registration.  For several reasons, the State Attorney’s  office exercised discretion and reduced these charges to misdemeanors with probationary sentences.

Victim Originally Stated She Was Forced Into Sex Only to Admit Later it Was Consensual

As is common in many sex cases a person who the arresting officers and detectives determine to be a victim later recants his or her story.  In the above case, the female victim later stated the sex was consensual.  One of the young men had recorded the acts on his cell phone. That defendant also had an additional felony charge of “making/printing or publishing computer pornography” which under Florida Law is a third degree felony.  The young girl in this case was not of age to give or not give consent under Florida law; however, a supervisory prosecutor, after viewing the video contained on one defendant’s cellphone, determined that the young girl was not being forced into any participation by the three young men.  As the case unfolded, the video, the recording of which was an felony charge, seems to have helped all of the young men with the prosecutor’s decision to not bring the felony sex charges.

Sex Charges Can Surface Years Later

Under Florida law a person can be arrested for allegations of sexual misconduct years, even decades after the alledged behavior.  Most readers should be familiar with the multiple allegations against the popular comedian Bill Cosby.  Several women have brought up incidents from years past and at least once case is reportedly going to trial.  It is commonplace in Florida for a person with no criminal history to be arrested for sex crimes which supposedly occurred fifteen or twenty years prior.  The worst situation is Capital Sexual Battery, meaning, at the time of the incident, the victim was less than 12 years of age with the accused being over 18 years of age.  A person arrested on this charge is not entitled to a bond under Florida Law and is facing mandatory life imprisonment if convicted.  This writer has seen victims come forward with very old  allegations numerous times.  The motivation of the victim coming forward years later varies. It can be for “closure” as directed by their counselor or psychologist, the taking away of a 13 year old’s cell phone, refusing to let a rebellious 14 yr. old date the 16 yr. old who has his license and a car, the backing out of a promise to buy a child a car or truck when they turn 16, or mom is finally divorcing the stepdad.  Many times, other family members are aware of the allegations and families will try to just handle the matter internally without it getting out to law enforcement. Continue reading

Florida Legislators  Vote 122-5 To Repeal Law Passed In  1868

Florida lawmakers have apparently taken a small step to enter the modern day world by sending a bill to Governor Rick Scott.  The bill would eliminate Florida Statutes 798.01 and 798.02 which have been in effect since 1868, or essentially 148 years.  The two laws had their origins shortly after the end of the Civil War and the prevention of race mixing was probably a large part of the legislative intent.  Until Governor Scott signs the bill repealing the draconian law, under S798.01, it remains a second degree misdemeanor in Florida to “live in an open state of adultery” and both parties would be subject to a maximum of 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500. Got the wayward married folks covered there.  Under S798.02 non-married and married florida residents who have sex, or as described by the statute, “if any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or unmarried, engages in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”  One would think these laws would be rarely enforced but according to an article in Police State USA, between 2007 and 2011, nearly 700 Florida residents were charged with misdemeanors for living together.  Additionally, these statutes don’t punish same sex couples for living together.  If  almost 700 Florida residents were in fact charged with crimes under these two statutes between 2007 to 2011, when that number is compared to the hundreds of thousands of Floridians living together as unmarried couples, the arrest and any prosecution is extremely rare. Any arrest and prosecution would also have to be very arbitrary.  This writer has handled thousands of criminal cases and works in about eight different counties without ever seeing anyone charged with violating these two laws.  What this writer does find noteworthy is the five elected lawmakers casting dissenting votes about overturning a seldom enforced law, regulating sex between consenting adults, from 1868, still consider this law necessary.  Can’t be too careful sometimes.

Regulation of Marriage

The second degree misdemeanors mentioned in the above paragraph are part of a regulatory attempt by government despite containing references to sexual activity that were incorporated as elements of the crime.  In our county alone, law enforcement’s number one or two arrests  by pure numbers on a daily basis (Duval County runs 35-40%) is for folks driving without a license.  The above law in the first paragraph is akin to having sex without being in a government licensed marriage, ie, an unlicensed marriage.  Locally our courthouse and the State of Florida just recently decided if gay couples could even be granted a marriage license.  The State of Florida now grants same sex couples the right to apply for and receive a marriage license, the right to marry and the right to divorce.  Our Duval County Courthouse had performed marriages for years up until the law changed granting gay couples marriage licenses.  Once the law changed and gays could marry, our Clerk of Court, Ronnie Fussell, decided that his courthouse and his court personnel would perform no weddings going forward. That was the only way he could avoid his people performing the ceremony for a gay couple.  The move was very coincidental with Mr. Fussell  simply stating it was a shortage of resources issue causing him to cease marriage operations 100% across the board, straight and gay alike.  Certain Judges and lawyers do, however,  perform marriages in the courthouse without the assistance of the clerk’s office. Continue reading

Longwood Police Chief Gets Four Years Federal Time For Accepting Bribes

Former Longwood, Florida police chief, Tom Jackson, will be heading off to do his federal sentence after a jury convicted him of three counts of accepting bribes and one count of conspiracy. According to a report, Jackson took six personal checks from a convicted felon totaling $36,000 during the years 2007 to 2010.  A convicted felon obviously cannot be a sworn police officer and apparently this police chief’s price for trying to accomplish such a feat of making the felon a officer in his department was the $36,000. Also noteworthy here is the fact that the police chief provided a department owned weapon to a convicted felon. Chief Jackson knowingly swore in the convicted felon on July 10,2009 according o the federal indictment.  Possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, commonly referred to as a “PFCF” is a second degree felony under florida law, carrying up to 15 years incarceration with a three year minimum mandatory sentence routinely imposed.  The felon was given business cards, a badge and issued a weapon from the department.  Chief Jackson reportedly made $98,000 per year before one adds in the supplemental income from taking bribes.  It is not known to this reader if Chief Jackson also had an IRS problem for the reporting or non- reporting of the supplemental income from the bribes.  It is also not known if the chief keeps any sort of pension from his non felonious years in charge of the department.

Atlantic Beach Police Chief Sentenced On Drug Charges

In Duval County, Florida, former Atlantic Beach Chief of Police, Michael Classey, can now be referred to by his Florida Department of Corrections number, J54631.  Chief Classey entered guilty pleas to five felonies for possessing illegal steroids and medications and tampering with evidence.  The chief received a five year probationary sentence.  The sentencing judge made sure that the chief forfeited his florida law enforcement certification, would perform 100 hours of community service and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings five days per week.  Chief Classey very importantly received a withhold of adjudication.  The withhold means that although he entered pleas to multiple felonies, the court did not convict him of any of the felonies.  Whereas the Longwood chief above will be a lifetime convicted felon going forward after serving prison time, the Atlantic Beach chief was determined to be only a first time offender by the court and a public servant who had demonstrated a stellar 22 year record of decorated service.  The court found that no incarceration was justified and the prosecution also sought no jail or prison time.  The court decided that although this former chief didn’t need to be a convicted felon, he didn’t need to work in law enforcement going forward and needed to be given a chance at treatment.  Remaining on felony probation violation free in Florida is remarkable easy for some folks and just an unattainable hurdle for others.  In Florida, if one violates probation after originally receiving a withhold of adjudication, a hearing is conducted on the violation.  The violator does not get the benefit of a jury trial and whether the person violated or not is simply left up to the judge. The standard of proof required to be shown is that the probationer committed a “willful and substantial” violation of either the general or special conditions of probation.  The risk of violating probation is the previous withhold being converted into an adjudication/conviction and the probationer is also exposed to whatever incarceration was the maximum sentence allowed on each count the probationer entered pleas to.  Additionally, it is rare that a judge sets a bond on a violation of probation warrant or capias.  Locally, in North Florida, these are usually “no bond” warrants, even  for those on misdemeanor probation.  One will sit in jail 15-30 days before getting in front of the judge.  Usually, once one has accrued a substantial criminal record, or if the charge in question is very serious, probation will not be an option the court will consider.  A court is also not allowed to withhold adjudication of guilt on certain crimes or people with certain records.

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Lake City Police Post Video Surveillance Of Burglary, 20 Citizens Respond

On January 27, 2016, according to a report, the Lake City Fleet Maintenance Facility was burglarized with a burglar going over or through a fence and breaking into several vehicles.  The city facility had a decent quality video surveillance system and during their investigation the police obtained the video history of the night in question.  The police then  posted the videos of the burglary on various social media .  According to the report, the combined social media reach of the law enforcement posts was over 38,000 people.  Over twenty people called in saying they could identify the suspect.  One caller worked for the Florida Department of Corrections,  recognized the burglar as a person already on felony probation.  The Lake City Police, after using  social media to determine the suspect’s identity then again used social media to enlist the help of the local community and determined the location of the suspect.  The suspect was arrested with the Police Chief stating that without the public’s help law enforcement would not have been able to identify the suspect.  Many homeowners and businesses now are installing extremely high resolution video systems with multiple camera angles.  This writer has had experience with homeowners who post the video surveillance recording on social media even before calling law enforcement.  They provided the potential suspect’s identity to law enforcement about the same time as the initial incident reports were being generated.

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