Tag Archives: Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

DeBary Burger King armed robbery suspect has violent past, records say

 

The felon accused in last week’s armed robbery at the DeBary Burger King has a violent criminal past, both as a juvenile and an adult, records show.

Mathew H. Juan, 32, is being held on $150,000 bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.

Juan was arrested minutes after Wednesday’s robbery and faces charges of robbery with a firearm/deadly weapon and false imprisonment.

Prison record

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 2007 case but was charged the following year for violating his probation. That was for his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic-violence charge.

Juvenile record

Details of that case weren’t immediately available. However, his wife testified during a hearing that Juan placed his hand over her mouth while they were arguing. She said she couldn’t breathe and she bit his hand.  Neighbors realized they were fighting and called police.

At that hearing, a prosecutor said Juan had an extensive juvenile arrest record, including arrests for criminal mischief, aggravated assault/battery,  carrying a concealed weapon and possession
of alcohol by a person less than 21.

The hearing was a day before Juan’s 24th birthday.

Xanax blamed

During her testimony, his wife defended Juan saying his violence in both cases — the baseball-bat attack and the domestic-violence incident — were caused by Xanax (alprazolam).

He took the anti-anxiety drug because of depression following a friend’s murder, she testified.

But sedative made him violent, she added. She begged a judge to keep him out of prison so he could get treatment and help raise their then 2-year-old child.

A different judge later sentenced Juan to five years in prison with credit for 153 days in jail and five years of probation.

Letter to judge

He entered the state prison system in March 2009 and left in December 2012.

In December 2015, Juan sent a letter to a Volusia County judge, seeking early termination of his probation. Juan, then an Orlando resident, said he hadn’t gotten in trouble and he was following all of the court orders.

He said he wanted to go to France to meet his in-laws. His wife, who wasn’t named in the letter, was the love of his life. And they were expecting a child, he wrote.

He started a successful business, bought his first home and had never before felt so happy and blessed.

The judge terminated the probation the following month.

Burger King robbery

In the most recent case, deputies were called to the Burger King at 11:33 a.m. June 21

“Witnesses told responding deputies a male suspect displayed a gun, robbed the employees at two registers and ran out with cash,” the Sheriff’s Office said. The robber fled into nearby woods.

A silver Ford SUV later took off out of those same woods.

“At 11:46 a.m., an Orange City police officer spotted the suspect vehicle in the area of Saxon Boulevard and Threadgill Place in Orange City and conducted a traffic stop,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

2 witnesses ID suspect

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.”

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DeBary official: Fay-like storm will flood city

Even though DeBary is inland, a roughly 40-minute drive from the nearest beach, hurricanes remain a threat. Storm veterans remember the River City’s flooding in 2004 and 2008.

Now, even after the city installed  $30 million with of stormwater upgrades, the flooding threat remains, Public Works Director Alan Williamson told the City Council on Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Fay dumped close to 24 inches of rain in 24 hours on parts of West Volusia in 2008, overflowing lakes, putting streets underwater and flooding 130 homes in DeBary.

This hurricane season, which started June 1 but typically doesn’t kick into high gear until August and September, is expected to be a “little more than active,” Williamson said.

Weather officials are predicting 14 named storms, with 7 of those turning into hurricanes and three of those becoming major hurricanes,  Williamson said.

DeBary’s fledging stormwater system is doing a good job with routine storms. But a 2-foot deluge in one day would overwhelm the city’s system of pipes, pumps, ponds, hoses and lakes.

“If we have another Tropical Storm Fay,  we’re going to have flooding, even though we’ve spent a lot of money and we’ve put in a lot of infrastructure. Now, the flooding won’t be as bad. We can move the water much more quickly but we still have a lot of low areas in DeBary,” Williamson said.

He’s concerned about residents’ level of preparedness.

“The public won’t be ready. The public’s not ready. There’s a lot of complacency within the nation. ‘This disaster won’t happen to me. It can’t happen to me.’  Why not?” he asked rhetorically, “Whenever there’s a disaster in a small area, you always hear people say, ‘we didn’t think it would happen here.’ Why not? you need to assume the worst everywhere.”

He said the city has taken other steps besides making the stormwater upgrades. Officials have contracts in place with businesses to remove debris quickly after the storm.

A temporary disposal site has been identified. The Orange City Fire Department and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office will provide whatever services is needed from their agencies, according to Williamson said.

The city has pumps to move water out of local ponds and generators to power traffic lights if they go out.

But residents need to prepare for their specific needs in case of storms.

“That’s what we expect them to do: Help themselves,” Williamson said.

When the winds get too fast, emergency responders will be grounded until conditions improve. Residents should prepare to fend for themselves for as long as 72 hours until the storms die down, he said.

The city’s major concern during storms is in the southeast quadrant because residents are on wells. If the power goes out, those residents won’t be able to get water pumped out of their wells.

“It doesn’t even take a storm to knock power out because if I had told you a week ago a snake will crawl into an electrical outlet or electrical component and black out 6,000 people you would have laughed at me,” Williamson said. Well, happened last week. So it doesn’t take a storm to cause problems.”

A snake caused a power outage after crawling into a Duke Energy facility on DeBary Avenue in Enterprise on Sunday, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Duke Energy said 6,131 customers, mostly DeBary-area ones, lost power at 9:42 p.m. and the outages lasted from 38 to 54 minutes.

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DeBary dog killer arrested for violations amid ‘cleansing ritual,’ records show

 

A DeBary man convicted of animal cruelty in the hanging death of his mom’s Chihuahua last year is behind bars again.

David Rivera, 25, is the man who underwent a “cleansing ritual” last month through the beheading sacrifice of chickens and other animals, records show.

No one was arrested for the sacrifice. But Rivera is on community control for the dog’s death and he was recently arrested for three probation violations.

Rivera is accused of failing to check in with his probation officer twice and moving without notifying officials.

He denied violating his probation during a hearing May 31, records show.

“The defendant is unstable and a threat to society,” a probation officer wrote in a report.

Rivera is being held without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.

A violation of probation hearing is set for June 21 before Circuit Court Judge James R. Clayton in DeLand.

Animal cruelty

Rivera entered a plea of no contest to a felony charge of animal cruelty after he was accused of hanging his mom’s dog in April 2016.

He was sentenced to five years of probation, according to records at the Volusia County Courthouse.

The attack on the dog happened April 14, 2016. Deputies were called to a home on Dirksen Drive about 11 a.m. that day.

Rivera’s mother told deputies she and her son had been arguing about his unemployment. She told him he would have to leave if he didn’t get a job, a spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

During the argument, Rivera climbed an oak tree and hanged her 5-year-old male Chihuahua using a metal dog chain.

He then climbed about 30 feet up the same tree and threatened to hang himself. Deputies and the Sheriff’s Office Hostage Negotiation Team responded.

He gave up peacefully and came down after 8 hours.

‘Cleansing of bad spirits’

Last month, Rivera failed to check in with his probation officer, prompting officials to look for him.

Two probation officers went to his last known address — the house on Dirksen Drive — on May 16 and found Rivera with blood on his head, a report said.

“This officer inquired about the blood and was told he and other family friends were conducting a spiritual/ritual ceremony,” a report said. The ceremony involved “a cleansing of bad spirits and talking to the dead” and sacrifice of chickens.

Rivera led his probation officer to the place where the ritual cleansing was performed, according to clickorlando.com.

Numerous headless animals were found, along with family members, where the ritual was performed, an incident report said.

A bicyclist called 911 after finding a bin with these beheaded animals: five chickens, two pigeons, one goat and one turtle.

Rivera was involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation under the state’s Baker Act on May 17 after calling a probation officer and saying he wanted to kill himself.

Call to Rivera

On May 23, after Rivera missed another probation check-in, a probation officer went to the house on Dirksen Drive. No one answered then or during a second attempt that evening.

The officer went to a neighbor’s house, where the resident called Rivera while the officer stood by.

The officer spoke over the phone with Rivera, who said he “does not and cannot live” at the house on Dirksen Drive and has been staying with a friend.  The officer told Rivera to check-in at the probation office the next day, which he did.

He told the officer he had been living in a tent in Gemini Springs Park, an unverified claim. He also asked the officer if he could hear his thoughts.

The probation officer requested an arrest warrant for Rivera, saying he twice missed probation-office appointments and moved somewhere without notification.

David Rivera

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DeBary auto thieves put 1,500 miles on my SUV, victim says

Sue Kerkhof has been reunited with her 2016 Infiniti a week after it was stolen while pumping gas in DeBary.

But that week has been a busy one.

“They found my car 1 week and 1,500 miles later in an apt complex in Sanford,” Kerkhof, 60, of DeBary said on Facebook. “They drove the hell out of my beloved car!”

All of her personal belongings were gone. No arrests were announced. Authorities were not available for details over the Memorial Day holiday.

She praised all the police agencies that were involved, including the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, Sanford police and Seminole County Sherrif’s Office.

The theft happened May 18.

A man who was loitering outside the store at 399 S. U.S. Highway 17-92 jumped behind the wheel at about 4:30 p.m.

She said the thief almost hit her with her own car as he headed south toward Sanford. She said she didn’t lock her car “because I was standing right there and if you lock it you can’t open the gas cap.”

Kerkhof said her insurance company and the Sanford Infiniti dealership are trying to “undo” the damage to the vehicle.

“It’s not wrecked but was abused and filthy and did have some damage,” she said recently in Facebook. “I have felt some pretty strong emotions and right now [and I] am mad that some of us work very hard for what we have and that someone feels free to steal it.”

DeBary woman: ‘I ran screaming after my car’

A 60-year-old DeBary woman said she is heartbroken after her car was stolen while she was pumping gas at the Kangaroo station at U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dirksen Drive on Thursday.

“My purse, phone and computer were in the car,” Sue Kerkhof said on Facebook. “I ran screaming after my car.”

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said the case is still active.

The white vehicle, a 2016 Infiniti QX50 SUV with a Florida State University vanity plates (SQ449), was taken by a man who was loitering outside the store at 399 S. U.S. Highway 17-92 at about 4:30 p.m., according to Kerkhof.

Kerkhof said the thief almost hit her with her own car as he headed south toward Sanford.

“I am mortified and sick that my personal information/purse, cell phone and bag and computer went with the sick sick…” she wrote. “I have never felt as helpless and sick.”

She wants her personal items returned.

“I had a piece of paper in my wallet that I have had from my son that passed away a year ago with the words Gam Gam on it in his writing,” she wrote. “Irreplaceable.”

She said she didn’t lock her car “because I was standing right there and if you lock it you can’t open the gas cap.”

She posted on the DeBary Proud page on Facebook.

“It can happen to any of us,” commented Facebook user Sally Dilts Chiodo. “It’s terrible that we have to look out for the scum of the earth when we walk out the door of our house. I am so sorry that it happened to you. Let’s all look out for each other.”

DeBary driveway repair scammer Gary Mitchell arrested, deputies say

 

The alleged driveway repair scammer who is accused of ripping off a 90-year-old DeBary woman has been arrested, officials said Friday.

Gary Mitchell, 29, was arrested in Broward County and brought to Volusia County, where he is being held in the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.

Mitchell is being held on a $50,000 bond, said Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Gary Davidson.

He was wanted on an arrest warrant for charges of elderly exploitation and scheme to defraud,

Mitchell pressured the woman into paying $3,000 for what turned out to be “shoddy and unprofessional work,” the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

In January, Mitchell allegedly solicited the 90-year-old DeBary woman by “telling her that her driveway was in bad shape and then offering to resurface it,” Davidson said.

She initially said no. But then she eventually agreed after the man persisted.

She said the $3,000 price tag was too high but she wrote him a check anyway.

“Later that day, the woman became increasingly uneasy about the transaction and called her bank to try to stop payment on the check, but it had already been cashed,” Davidson said. “The check was written out to Mitchell, who was captured on surveillance video cashing it at the bank.”

Experts said it appeared that her driveway “had been painted over with a watered-down concrete mix and that the material was applied incorrectly and is of very poor quality and the work was grossly overpriced,” Davidson said.

Detectives think Mitchell also tried to scam an 88-year-old DeBary man.

Mitchell was convicted in Arizona of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

 

30 wigs, 20 IDs linked to Gemini Springs car break-ins

Thirty wigs were found as a suspect in the Gemini Springs Park car break-ins was arrested again, this time in Orlando.

At least one of the wings was worn by suspect Dianne Garrett while impersonating a victim to cash a stolen check, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation continues into the crimes last month at the DeBary park, and investigators suspect Garrett is part of a larger theft ring.

Garrett was arrested April 1 in Broward County on an arrest warrant out of Volusia County. She was charged with three counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information and one count of uttering a forgery for two vehicle break-ins March 18 at Gemini Springs.

Garrett was taken into custody again Thursday on International Drive in Orlando  after bailing out of the Broward County Jail

Garrett now faces additional charges related to two more vehicle burglaries at Gemini Springs Park.

“Garrett’s latest charges are two counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information in connection to a pair of March 23 break-ins,” the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. “Detectives obtained surveillance video of Garrett cashing stolen checks at banks in South Lakeland and Auburndale. Each time, she wore a blonde wig in order to resemble the victim’s ID photo.”

At an Orlando hotel, detectives with a search warrant found about 30 wigs, 10 high-end purses with wallets and IDs believed to be stolen from the Orange County area.

They also recovered more than 20 other IDs and checkbooks and several bank receipts, Volusia officials said.

She’s at the Orange County Jail on no bond.

DeBary Winn-Dixie cashier stole, bought drugs, deputies say

Ashlie Loucks
Ashlie Loucks

A 40-year-old DeBary woman is accused of stealing store funds to buy drugs while working as a cashier at Winn-Dixie.

Ashlie Loucks was arrested and charged with petit theft and possession of a Schedule III narcotic, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded on March 23 to a theft complaint at the store at 2 Charles R. Beall Blvd.

An arrest report alleges Loucks on at least six occasions took money from the register and gave to an unidentified man in exchange for what looked like drugs.

Loucks admitted to stealing, saying she was addicted to heroin and was trying to quit.

“The male customer in each instance was her, “dealer, Mike,” however she does not know his last name or where he lives (aside from somewhere in Debary near the store),” an arrest report says.

She said she took money from the cash drawer on several occasions to buy small bags of heroin from “Mike,” the report said.

The thefts totaled $130. Security cameras captured the thefts and transactions with the alleged dealer, the arrest report says.

A deputy searched her purse and found a single strip of Suboxone, a drug used to treat substance abuse but is potentially addictive. Loucks said she bought it from “Mike,” according to the report.

DeBary seniors targeted by driveway repair scammer, deputies say

A 90-year-old DeBary woman was ripped off by a driveway repair scammer who is now wanted on two felony charges, deputies announced Thursday.

Gary Mitchell, 29, pressured the woman into paying $3,000 for what turned out to be “shoddy and unprofessional work,” the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Mitchell is wanted on an arrest warrant for charges of elderly exploitation and scheme to defraud, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Gary Davidson.

Detectives think  Mitchell also tried to scam an 88-year-old DeBary man.

“In that case, the suspect tried to charge the man $3,200, but eventually agreed to take just $40 from him after he complained about the price,” Davidson said in a statement. “Mitchell was convicted in Arizona of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.”

In January,  Mitchell allegedly solicited the 90-year-old DeBary woman by “telling her that her driveway was in bad shape and then offering to resurface it,” Davidson said.

She initially said no. But then she eventually agreed after the man persisted.

She said the $3,000 price tag was too high but she wrote him a check anyway.

“Later that day, the woman became increasingly uneasy about the transaction and called her bank to try to stop payment on the check, but it had already been cashed,” Davidson said. “The check was written out to Mitchell, who was captured on surveillance video cashing it at the bank.”

Experts said it appeared that her driveway “had been painted over with a watered-down concrete mix and that the material was applied incorrectly and is of very poor quality and the work was grossly overpriced,” Davidson said.

Deputies are asking for the public’s help to find Mitchell.

Tipsters are urged to call the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at (888) 277-TIPS.

DeBary DUI suspect had open beer, deputies say

An open Yuengling bottle was found on the passenger side floorboard of the Volvo, according to a report.

The 24-year-old driver was pulled over just after 11 p.m. March 4 after a deputy spotted the Volvo swerving on N. Charles R. Beall Boulevard, a report said.

Harleigh Barnes of Longwood was charged with driving while intoxicated, according to a report from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy spotted the Volvo making a wide turn out of the 7-Eleven at 96 N. Charles R. Beall Boulevard and go onto the median, a report says.

The deputy turned on his overhead emergency lights and sirens and eventually the vehicle pulled off at 91 S. Charles R. Beall Blvd.

Barnes had watery eyes, slow speech and an “overwhelming odor commonly associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages on her breath,” according to an arrest report.

That’s when the deputy spotted the open beer bottle, an arrest report says.

The deputy asked Barnes if she had consumed any alcoholic beverages and she said she had “a few,” the report says.

She failed field-sobriety tests and was arrested. She refused to give a breath sample, the report alleges.