The felon who robbed the DeBary Burger King last year was recently sentenced to more than a decade in prison.
Mathew H. Juan, 33, flashed a gun while robbing two employees at the restaurant at 305 Sunrise Blvd. before noon June 21, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
No one was hurt. The robber ran into the woods.
Minutes later, an Orange City police officer spotted his getaway vehicle – a silver Ford SUV – in the area of Saxon Boulevard and Threadgill Place in Orange City and conducted a traffic stop.
Deputies responded to the scene with two witnesses who identified Juan as the suspect. Deputies said they think he was homeless.
“Deputies also recovered cash from the wooded area near the Burger King where the SUV had been parked,” the Sheriff’s Office report said. “At the scene of the traffic stop, deputies noticed a piece greenery stuck to the back of the vehicle, as if it had been recently parked amid some brush and vegetation.”
Juan entered no-contest pleas to charges of robbery with a firearm/deadly weapon and false imprisonment.
Volusia County Circuit Judge James R. Clayton recently found him guilty and sentenced him to 12.5 years in state prison.
Clayton on Jan. 12 also declared Juan a habitual violent felon, meaning he’ll have to serve at least 10 years of his sentence.
Juan has a violent criminal past, both as a juvenile and an adult, records show.
Records show Juan served more than three years in state prison before he was released in December 2012.
He was adjudicated guilty in Volusia County in 2007 after pleading no contest to charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault.
Juan was accused of attacking his wife’s brother with a baseball bat in Edgewater.
He was placed on probation in the 2007 case but was charged the following year for violating his probation for allegedly attacking his wife.
A judge sentenced Juan to five years in prison with credit for 153 days in jail and five years of probation.
He entered the state prison system in March 2009 and left in December 2012.
The city’s insurance company resolved a lawsuit filed against Clint Johnson, meaning City Council members didn’t have to vote on a proposed $2,000 settlement.
Interim City Manager Ron McLemore announced the settlement Wednesday during the City Council meeting.
Additional details were not immediately available.
The agenda originally called for City Council members to vote on a $2,000 settlement to resolve a lawsuit filed by DeBary resident Colette Rowley against then mayor Johnson for an alleged verbal assault in 2015.
Rowley accused Johnson of a verbal assault and slander from an alleged confrontation June 24, 2015 at City Hall.
Rowley’s suit alleged Johnson told her to leave because she spreads lies about him on the internet.
As others watched at City Hall, the suit alleges, Johnson moved close to Rowley while telling her to go away.
The case was set for trial in February.
A majority on the City Council removed Johnson from office in August 2016, saying he violated the charter by telling staffers what to do.
It’s the only road along that route, serving existing and planned high-end subdivisions, and it links to the SunRail station at the southern end in DeBary’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) high-value growth zone.
Last spring, the City Council approved a quick-fix resurfacing plan for $183,000 for the worst sections of Fort Florida Road. The move came after sections of the road fell apart in places and a vehicle got snagged in a giant pothole.
Conditions have worsened in recent months, DeBary resident Karen Chasez said during a recent City Council meeting.
“There’s a liability to the city from these potholes, which are getting worse,” she said.
She cited construction traffic from expansions at two subdivisions – Riviera Bella and Springview – as well as Florida Power & Light’s work at the utility’s Konomac Lake – as key contributors to the problem.
Matt Boerger, growth management director, told City Council members DeBary staffers are constantly monitoring conditions on Fort Florida Road under a maintenance agreement with developer Jerome Henin.
Fort Florida Commons, owned by DeLand-based Empire Cattle Co., is proposing roughly 700 units on 278 acres south of Fort Florida Road and west of Barwick Road.
That subdivision, supported by landowner representative Steve Costa, is being called an “agrihood” because residents can grow their own vegetables in a community garden.
Fort Florida Road was paved about eight years ago using temporary asphalt meant to last roughly five to seven years.
The area is flat and the roadway lacks adequate drainage, allowing water to build up and soften the road’s base, undermining the foundation, the City Council was told last year.
The City Council took action earlier this month to fix a half-mile section of Fort Florida Road between U.S. 17-92 and Barwick Road under a unique partnership with Volusia County.
The county provides potable water, sanitary sewer and reclaimed water in DeBary.
The city and county will equally share the cost of design – $180,000 plus a $40,000 contingency – with DeBary’s share coming from its economic incentive fund, the City Council decided Jan. 3.
Construction costs are estimated at $2 million. The county would cover half of that for utilities, with a combination of city and developer funds paying for the other half, records say.
Normally, the developer picks up all of those costs. But that policy has hampered the development of this area in the past, according to city officials.
The new city and county partnership is intended to expedite development, road improvements and utility upgrades in that area.
“Word of this agreement has already attracted a quality developer to the Costa property located on Ft. Florida Road,” a city memo said.
At the Jan. 3 meeting, Costa praised city and county staffers for developing the cost-sharing agreement.
In the past, potential developers of Fort Florida Commons have been scared away by the upfront infrastructure costs.
Now, with the new agreement in place, Costa expects to worth with a new developer to move the project forward.
“I can tell you that the plans that we’re putting together are going to be phenomenal. It’s going to be something that everybody in the city of DeBary will be proud of,” Costa said. “It is putting the citizens first.”
DeBary critic Mort Culligan called the partnership a “$110,000 shakedown.”
“It benefits – to a large degree – developers,” he said.
McLemore defended the agreement, saying it would lure the kind of high-end development that would provide long-term and substantial growth of the tax base.
“You can work together to make things happen or you can just let happen what will,” McLemore said. “We’re not after growth. We’re after sustainable growth. We don’t want the low-hanging fruit…”
A $2,000 settlement is being proposed to resolve a lawsuit filed by DeBary resident Colette Rowley against former Mayor Clint Johnson for an alleged verbal assault in 2015.
“On June 24, 2015 the plaintiff and Mayor Johnson got into an altercation that resulted [in the] plaintiff filing a suit against Mayor Johnson alleging ‘assault’ and ‘slander’ and the plaintiff demanding damages in the amount of $15,000.00,” a DeBary city staff report says.
As others watched at City Hall, Johnson moved close to Rowley while telling her loudly she couldn’t attend a meeting because she spreads lies about him online, records allege.
The case is set for trial in February. DeBary staffers are recommending approval of the settlement. A message to Johnson wasn’t immediately returned.
The City Council is expected to act on the proposal Wednesday, Jan. 17.
A majority on the City Council removed Johnson from office in August 2016, saying he violated the charter by telling staffers what to do.
Johnson unsuccessfully challenged his removal by filing a lawsuit against the city.
Details of the alleged conflict between Rowley and Johnson are outlined in the court document below:
This year’s election season just took a surprise turn after Mayor Bob Garcia announced his political retirement.
During Wednesday’ s City Council meeting — the first of the New Year — Garcia revealed he would not seek another term.
“It’s been wonderful serving you,” Garcia said. The move leaves only one officially declared candidate – Louis Sweet — though an open seat will likely draw more hopefuls with months before the election.
Garcia, 67, was most recently elected a year ago, defeating two other challengers for the vacancy created by Clint Johnson’s removal from office.
Johnson was removed after four other City Council members said he violated the charter by trying to direct staffers. Johnson lost an appeal to overturn the decision and return to office.
Garcia said he will serve the remainder of his term, which ends on Dec. 31.
Garcia previously served as mayor from 2009 to 2014.
He resigned effective June 2014 to run an unsuccessful bid for the state House.
When she ran a DeBary doctor’s office, Tisha Krutsinger stole more than $100,000 from her boss for such expenses as tanning sessions, plane tickets and a maid for her house, records allege.
Now the former office manager is under orders to repay Dr. Humberto Dominguez at a rate of $1,000 per month.
But Krutsinger, 43, says she can’t afford to pay and is asking for the court to give her a break. She can’t make the payments, citing severe financial hardships and mounting health-care bills.
“I was clearly in the wrong committing this crime, and I know that my behavior was deserving a punishment,” Krutsinger wrote in a letter last month to a Volusia County judge. “I can offer no excuses, but instead state categorically that I am truly very sorry that I broke the law and it will never happen again.”
Her request for leniency and a lower monthly restitution payment was denied.
Circuit Court Judge James R. Clayton sentenced Krutsinger in June, finding her guilty of grand theft over $100,000.
She entered a no-contest plea.
In July, Clayton put her on community control for 12 months followed by 108 months of probation. He also ordered the $1,000 per month payments to Dominguez.
“This is putting great strain on my family as well as my health,” Krutsinger wrote. “I will have to foreclose on my home, declare bankruptcy and forego any more medical treatment if this continues. At this time I am barely able to feed my family and I am truly concerned and very scared as to the future of myself and my children.”
Dominguez realized there was a problem with his finances after his credit card was declined in May 2014, around the same time Krutsinger was fired.
He later learned Krutsinger had a credit card issued in her name that was linked to the doctor’s business, deputies say.
At the time, the doctor didn’t realize Krutsinger had been charging large sums of money and then paying them with funds from his personal bank account, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman said in 2014.
The doctor confronted her and she admitted making the personal purchases, saying she would repay him. He fired her on May 27 and called the Sheriff’s Office for help.
“Mere minutes after Krutsinger was escorted out of the office, the doctor learned that the mortgage payments on his office building hadn’t been paid for several months and foreclosure proceedings had been initiated,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said detectives discovered that she issued an extra payroll check to herself and took cash advances on the doctor’s credit card.
She used the money to pay for her cellphone, auto insurance, car repairs, cable, orthodontic bills and a plane trip to Kansas City, deputies allege.
Records show the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office successfully seized the couple’s 2006 GMC Yukon and a 2004 Land Rover because they had both been linked to the crimes.
DeBary Golf & Country Club lost $6,500 as one of the alleged victims of a man who falsely claimed to be raising money for military veterans, deputies said Friday.
Christopher P. Blake, 46, of Ormond Beach is accused of ripping off supporters of his organization, Second Chance Veterans Foundation, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Anyone who thinks they were scammed by Blake or has information is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 386-254-1537.
$6,500 check bounced
During an investigation, a detective learned that Blake’s $6,500 check for his Oct. 28 fundraiser at DeBary Golf & Country Club bounced, said Andrew Gant, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
“The manager reported that Blake had about 40 people at the event, each of them paying Blake $100 to play golf and eat lunch,” Gant said in a statement.
The investigation began last week after the Sheriff’s Office got a complaint from a local business that provided Blake signs and banners for a fundraiser but was never paid.
No Harley donated nor displayed
Gant said the detective on the case quickly realized something was up.
“The detective found a promotion for a Memorial Day raffle of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was said to be donated by Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson and on display at Ace Café in Orlando,” Gant wrote. “However, Rossmeyer’s denied ever donating a Harley, and Ace said no Harley was on display for Blake or his organization.”
The detective went to Blake’s office, where the landlord said Blake had not paid for rent in six months.
Chitwood, Sheriff’s Office not affiliated
The case remains under investigation as other potential victims come forward, some prompted by seeing photos Blake has posted on Facebook featuring himself and various figures, including Sheriff Mike Chitwood. Neither Sheriff Chitwood nor the Sheriff’s Office were affiliated with Blake or his organization.
“The landlord was scheduled to meet with Blake at her office that morning, and she let the detective sit in on the meeting – introducing him to Blake as her friend,” Gant wrote.
At one point, Blake showed the “friend” videos of events like a fundraiser at DeBary Golf and Country Club.
“Blake also told the detective he could buy a raffle ticket for the Harley,” Gant added.
Orange City hotel scammed
The detective also discovered Blake’s tracks at a Holiday Inn in Orange City.
The hotel gave Blake a $100 donation to sponsor his golf tournament. Blake also asked for four free hotel rooms. He got a discount instead.
“But Blake’s debit card used for payment was ultimately declined, and his bill of $956.30 was never paid,” Gant wrote.
Gerald Riggs lost $2,500
Gant said former NFL running back Gerald Riggs was a victim. Riggs was a celebrity guest at the golf tournament. He received a $2,500 check from Blake that bounced.