Month: February 2015

PCSO Computer Crimes Detectives Arrest 12 Men For Possession of Child Pornography and Other Charges

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During the month of February 2015, Polk County Sheriff’s Computer Crimes detectives, a Central Florida ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) affiliate, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), conducted investigations, served search warrants, and made 12 arrests during an undercover investigation focusing on the promotion, possession, and distribution of child pornography. Ten of the arrests were for possession and distribution of child pornography, one of the arrests was for sexual battery on a minor, and one of the arrests was for other charges.

In all, detectives seized 36 computers, 25 cell phones, 8 tablets, 328 media storage devices, and the suspects arrested were charged with a total of 266 charges so far.

One of the child porn suspects died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound during the investigation and is not counted in the number of arrests but is mentioned at the end of the release:

A search warrant was executed at 3239 Grand Pines Drive in Lakeland, where 29-year-old Nicholas LaFauce (DOB 7/31/1985) lives with his parents. During an on-scene preview of LaFauce’s computer, detectives observed at least five images depicting child pornography. On February 22, 2015, he was arrested and charged with five (5) counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-3). He admitted to detectives that he downloaded videos containing child pornography to view them. Detectives will conduct a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized, and additional charges are pending.

search warrant was executed at 7141 Leisure Road in Haines City, where 45-year-old Tracey Brown (DOB 10/13/1969) lives with roommates. During an on-scene preview of Brown’s computer, detectives observed at least 40 videos depicting child pornography, with children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old. Brown told detectives he has been downloading and viewing child pornography “for the past couple of years,” that he believes he is addicted to watching child pornography videos, and that he is attracted to young girls. He told detectives he receives $500 per month in social security benefits. On February 23, 2015, he was arrested and charged with 40 counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2), and 3 counts Promotion of Child Pornography (F-2). Detectives will conduct a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized, and additional charges are pending.

search warrant related to the investigation of child pornography was executed at 1301 Ariana Woods Circle in Auburndale, where 37-year-old Brian Neubrand (DOB 9/27/1977) lives with his mother. During the search warrant, detectives located a greenhouse with four marijuana plants growing in it, and a fire pit containing the remains of five burned external computer hard drives. Neubrand told detectives he has multiple computer hard drives – all of Neubrand’s computer equipment was seized, along with the small marijuana grow operation and marijuana paraphernalia. On February 23, 2015, he was arrested and charged with one count Cultivation of Marijuana (F-3), one count Possession of Marijuana (M-1), and one count Possession of Paraphernalia (M-1). Detectives conducted a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized, and he was re-arrested on February 26, 2015, for 23 counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2), and booked into the Polk County Jail. Detectives located video files on his computer of children as young as three years old performing sex acts. His criminal history includes a 1997 arrest by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for Aggravated Battery.

search warrant was executed at 2222 Christy Lane in Lakeland, where 48-year-old Ronald Weston (DOB 2/11/1967) lives. During the search warrant, detectives located computer equipment belonging to Weston, and during a preliminary on-scene preview of the computers, located over 170 files containing child pornography, some videos containing babies as young as six months of age. On February 24, 2015, he was arrested and charged with 100 counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2). Detectives will conduct a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized, and additional charges are pending.

While executing the search warrant on Christy Lane, detectives received information that a wanted suspect lived at 2401 Christy Lane. Detectives located and arrested Jose Seda, DOB 1/8/1973, for multiple warrants including Vehicle Burglary, Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle, Unlawful Possession of Stolen Credit Card, Fraudulent Use of Credit Card, and Criminal Use of Personal ID. He was booked into the Polk County Jail, and released after posting $4,500 bond. His criminal history includes a 1994 arrest by Daytona PD for Cocaine Possession; a 1994 arrest by Clearwater PD for Resisting Arrest; a 1995 arrest by Pinellas Co. SO for Forgery and VOP; a 1997 arrest by PCSO for Resisting Arrest, DWLSR, and VOP; a 1999 arrest by Auburndale PD for DWLSR; a 2000 arrest by LPD for VOP; a 2001 arrest by LPD for VOP; a 2002 arrest by PCSO for Sexual Assault on a Minor – Seda is an FDLE registered sexual offender based on this arrest and conviction; a 2003 arrest by PCSO for DWLSR and VOP; a 2006 arrest by Orange Co SO for Cocaine Possession, Marijuana Possession, and Deriving Proceeds from Prostitution; a 2006 arrest by PCSO for Possession of Meth; a 2010 arrest by PCSO for Possession of Controlled Substance, Maintaining Structure for Drug Use, Possession of Paraphernalia; a 2011 arrest by PCSO for Resisting Arrest, Drug Possession; a 2011 arrest by Auburndale PD for VOP; a 2011 arrest by PCSO for Burglary, Grand Theft; a 2011 arrest by PCSO for Failure to Appear, Tampering With Witness; a 2013 arrest by PCSO for Cocaine Possession, Possession of Paraphernalia; a 2014 arrest by PCSO for Robbery.

search warrant was executed at 95 Country Club Drive in Mulberry, where 46-year-old Robert Droz (DOB 5/25/1968) lives. During the search warrant, detectives located computer equipment belonging to Droz, and during a preliminary on-scene preview of the computers, located 30 files containing child pornography. On February 25, 2015, he was arrested and charged with 30 counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2) and three (3) counts Promotion of Child Pornography (F-2). Detectives will conduct a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized, and additional charges are pending. In 2012, Robert Droz’s father, Robert Droz (DOB 12/12/42) was arrested for over 450 counts of Possession of Child Pornography, and two counts Lewd Molestation on a victim under the age of 7 years old. Droz died at the age of 70 while still incarcerated in the Polk County Jail. See related news articles here: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120417/NEWS/120419348 and http://www.theledger.com/article/20130206/news/130209512

search warrant was executed at 152 East Bullard Ave in Lake Wales, where 23-year-old Johnny Emmons Jr. (DOB 7/11/1991) lives.During the search warrant, detectives located computer equipment belonging to Emmons, and during a preliminary on-scene preview of the computers, located three (3) files containing child pornography. Emmons told detectives he has been downloading and viewing child pornography for a couple of years. He told detectives he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2013. He told detectives he talks to juvenile females as young as 12 years old via the Kik phone messaging application. On February 25, 2015, he was arrested and charged with three (3) counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2). Detectives will conduct a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized, and additional charges are pending.

search warrant was executed at 1304 Bramblewood Court in Lakeland, where 36-year-old Justin Leyva (DOB 6/6/1978) lives.Detectives received information from the FBI that Leyva was sending and receiving child pornography via the Kik cell phone messaging application, including images of infants and toddlers engaged in sex acts. Detectives located computer equipment and the cell phone belonging to Leyva, and during a preliminary on-scene preview of the cell phone, located at least one file containing child pornography – more charges were added after his arrest during a forensic examination of the cell phone. On February 26, 2015, he was arrested and charged with 19 counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-3) and one count DWSLR. Detectives will conduct a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized, and additional charges are pending. His criminal history includes an arrest by Pasco Co SO for Battery and VOP, and an arrest by PCSO for FTA. 

As previously reported via news release: On February 5, 2015, a search warrant was executed at 2415 Galloway Road in Lakeland, where 32-year-old Matthew Gregory Shiver (DOB 5/26/1982) lives. During the investigation, detectives found Shiver sharing videos depicting children as young as 3 years of age engaged in sexual activity, including with animals. Shiver has access to three children, all under the age of 10 years old. The PCSO Special Victims Unit interviewed all three children, and the Department of Children and Families was notified. At this time, no abuse has been reported. During a preliminary on-scene preview of the computers, detectives located a video file in the trash bin of the computer. Shiver told detectives he has been watching child pornography for approximately 6 years, and after viewing each video or photo, he deletes the files so his wife will not find out. He was arrested and charged with three counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2). Detectives conducted a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized, and found 10 additional video files. He was charged with an additional 10 counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2). His criminal history includes a 2006 arrest by PCSO for Contempt and Violation of Injunction for Protection.

As previously reported via news release: On February 5, 2015, a search warrant was executed at 7425 US Hwy 98 North Apt 41 in Lakeland, where 20-year-old Adam Douglas Murroni (DOB 11/13/1994) lives with his grandmother. During the investigation, detectives found Murroni was sharing a child pornography video depicting two juvenile females under the age of 12 years old engaged in sexual activity with each other. Murroni told detectives he uses his phone to access file sharing applications to share child pornography. He was arrested and charged with one count Possession of Child Pornography (F-2). Detectives conducted a thorough forensic analysis of all equipment seized.

As previously reported via news release: On February 17, 2015, a search warrant was executed at 2715 Providence Rd lot 16 in Lakeland,where 43-year-old Alvin Thomas Sansom, Jr. (DOB 1/11/1972) lives. Detectives executed the search warrant and conducted an on-scene preview of a computer found running at the residence.  Detectives located 20 video files on the computer depicting child pornography – the youngest child involved appeared to be four years old. Sansom admitted to intentionally downloading and viewing videos of child pornography telling detectives he knew it was “wrong.” He was arrested and charged with 20 counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2). Sansom had access to two young children, both under the age of eight – PCSO Special Victims detectives interviewed the two children. No abuse was reported. The Department of Children and Families was notified of the arrest and Sansom’s access to the children. Sansom’s criminal history includes a 1994 arrest by PCSO for DUI; a 2003 arrest by PCSO for Battery Domestic Violence; a 2006 arrest by PCSO for Marijuana Possession; and a 2012 arrest by LPD for DUI.

On February 12, 2015, Central Florida ICAC task force members – detectives with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office – contacted PCSO in reference to 19-year-old Angel Mangual (DOB 5/16/1995) who lives with his mother at 335 Edgewood Court in Poinciana.  OCSO detectives received information that Mangual was communicating with an adult female on Facebook, and solicited her to perform a sex act on her three-year-old son. After his arrest, Mangual disclosed he had sexually abused a juvenile that he had access to (not the same juvenile whose mother he was speaking with via Facebook). Mangual was placed under arrest and charged with five counts Attempted Sexual Battery on a Minor Under the Age of 12 (Capital Felony), one count Use of Computer to Solicit a Parent or Guardian (F-3), and one count Use of a Two-Way Communication Device to Commit a Felony (F-3). He remains in the Polk County Jail.

As previously reported via news release: On Sunday, February 22, 2015, detectives responded to 6120 Andrea Drive in Lakeland to serve a search warrant for possession and distribution of child pornography. After announcing their presence and making entry into the home, detectives heard the sound of a single gunshot coming from the master bedroom. Upon entering the bedroom, detectives located 56-year-old David Cahill deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. In an “office,” located near the master bedroom, deputies located dozens of portable thumb drives, several computers and electronic devices. David’s wife Nell told detectives her husband was in the “office” when deputies announced their presence.  She said she told her husband deputies were outside of their home. Detectives learned David Cahill kept the computers and electronic equipment in the “office” and were used solely by him. A forensic analysis of the electronic equipment found 12 child pornographic images on Cahill’s main computer. No deputies were injured during the incident. The autopsy showed Cahill’s cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and the manner of death a suicide. His criminal history includes a 1994 arrest for Non-Payment of Child support.

“Some research shows that up to 85% of those involved with the manufacturing, distribution, and possession of child pornography have already or will attempt to sexually abuse children. Let me be crystal clear: those who engage in the victimization of children through the possession of, distribution of, or making of child pornography will be relentlessly pursued and arrested by our detectives!” – Sheriff Grady Judd

*** All material within this article comes directly from PCSO***

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Rabies and your Pet

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by Lori Shank, DVM (Fort Meade Animal Clinic)

If you are like most pet owners, your only association with rabies is the yearly, or once every three years,  vaccine your pet gets. And, of course, that’s a good thing, because rabies is not a good thing at all. The rabies problem hit close to home a couple of months ago, as Polk County’s most recent rabies case was reported on Eighty Foot Road, a highway that is just east of Bartow and north of Fort Meade.It was the fifth case or rabies in Polk in 2014, which is a pretty typical year, although three of the cases all came in December.

This particular case was sad because it was a young pup that was given as a Christmas gift that got nipped by what turned out to be a rabid raccoon. At four months of age, it was just about the time that a dog owner would think about getting its first rabies vaccination. Unfortunately, the person who sold the new owners the dog said it had shots, but that turned out not to be true.Overall, three of the county’s cases involved rabid raccoons, one bat and one fox. Another animal that can often be carriers are skunks. As you might expect, about 95 percent of cases in the U.S. today are in wild animals. There are very few deaths in the U.S. now reported due to rabies, but worldwide, it is still quite a problem in many countries. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association, in a 2009 report, put that number at 55,000 deaths across the globe, mainly in Africa and Asia.

In that report, Florida had 172 cases of rabies that year. For comparison sake, Texas had 830, California 227 and New York 458. Virginia was the number one rabies state, with 572 cases, and if you have a particular fear of the disease (cynophobia is a fear of dogs and rabies), you might want to move to Mississippi. There were just four reported cases there in 2009.According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 40,000 Americans every year have to undergo a rabies prevention treatment; surprisingly, the majority of those cases involved contact with a domestic, not wild, animals. Another surprising fact about pet rabies is, according to the AVMA, cats are more likely to contract rabies than dogs. In 2008, for example, the AVMA said there were four times as many cat rabies cases reported than dogs.

Many cat owners don’t often think about the need for a rabies vaccination for their feline friends, rationalizing of course that the cat never goes out of the house. But what if I told you that one of the five county cases last year was a rabid bat, caught inside a home in Bartow? Remember, Polk County’s ordinances require rabies shots for pets four months and older for both cats and dogs. Of course, if your pet should bite someone, it should be reported to the local health department (519-8330) and animal control. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Those animals need to be quarantined for 10 days (that can be done in the pet’s home) to look for any unusual behaviors. If your pet has been bitten, contact your veterinarian immediately and report the bit to animal control (499-2600) as well. Even if you are up to date on your vaccinations, a new vaccination shot right away is a good idea.

In the case of the young pup on Eighty Foot Road, the only option was a strict six month quarantine, and a hope that there was no infection. In this case the family made the difficult decision to euthanize rather than potentially see it suffer.

Attention Migrant Families in Fort Meade

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This message is for migrant families living in Polk County.  You are invited to our 2015 Health and Education Fair, this Wednesday, February 25th, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm., at the Bartow Civic Center, located at 2250 South Floral Avenue.  There will be a special activity planned for students that attend middle school and high school, and face painting for younger children.   Please come to receive information over services and programs in Polk County on education and health.  Pizza will be served.  We will see you on Wednesday, February 25, at 5 pm.
This message is from Meylin Nickerson, with the migrant education Program in Fort Meade.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office Seeking Volunteers

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Have you ever wanted to truly make a difference in your community?  Would you like to work alongside Polk County Sheriff’s deputies helping residents?  If so, we’ve got a job for you!

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is seeking volunteers to join the Volunteer Sheriff’s Service Office program. Participants will receive over 80 hours of classroom training and will receive another 80 hours of field training.

VSSO training includes:

* PCSO orientation training, rules, regulations, responsibilities, etc.

* Proactive policing principles (PROCAP)

* Polk County demographic and geographic familiarization

* PCSO customer service philosophy

* Crisis Intervention Training

* Bloodborne Pathogens

* Ethics and Code of Conduct

* Use of chemical agent

* Defensive driving

* Civil vs. criminal law

* Report writing

* High visibility neighborhood patrols / theory / crime observation

* Traffic and pedestrian direction/control

* Neighborhood follow-up/canvassing after property crimes

* CPR & AED certification

To learn how you can become a PCSO VSSO, please mark your calendar for these upcoming information sessions:

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Wednesday, February 25, 2015, at the Sheriff’s Operation Center, 1891 Jim Keene Boulevard, Winter Haven.  The training session will be held in the multi-media training room located on the first floor.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Friday, February 27, 2015, at the Sheriff’s Operation Center, 1891 Jim Keene Boulevard, Winter Haven.  The training session will be held in the multi-media training room located on the first floor.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Monday, March 2, 2015, at the Sheriff’s Operation Center, 1891 Jim Keene Boulevard, Winter Haven.  The training session will be held in the multi-media training room located on the first floor.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at the Sheriff’s Operation Center, 1891 Jim Keene Boulevard, Winter Haven.  The training session will be held in the multi-media training room located on the first floor.

Volunteer Sheriff’s Service Officer duties will include:

* House checks (vacation, foreclosed, and vacant properties)

* After-hours business and commercial checks and patrols

* Statistically-based neighborhood patrol

* Crime prevention programs and special events

* Administrative duties

* School zone safety initiatives

* Directed traffic monitoring & patrol assignments (radar surveys)

* Traffic and pedestrian direction/control for traffic accidents and special events

* Animal control assistance

*  Assisting Child Protection Referral detectives

* Stranded motorist assistance

* Report excess liter, graffiti, and suspicious activity

* Neighborhood follow-up after property crimes

* Assist with passed occurred property crimes investigations

* Crime Scene Section assistance

* Documenting civil and criminal complaints

* And other non-hazardous duties

All PCSO volunteers receive criminal background checks and must maintain compliance with all PCSO general orders and procedures.  VSSOs do not have arrest powers, will not take any enforcement actions, and will not write traffic tickets.  Some VSSOs will patrol within the five PCSO districts, while others will work in office settings. 

To reserve a space at the upcoming information sessions, please contact Deputy Allen Barber at863.297.1176

*** All information within this article is courtesy of Polk County Sheriff Office and comes directly from the same office***

2014 Polk Uniform Crime Report Data: Crime Down 7.60% in Polk County Sheriff’s Office Jurisdiction

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According to Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics, as reported semi-annually and annually to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), there were 703 fewer crimes in 2014 than in 2013 in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office primary jurisdiction.  The jurisdiction includes all of unincorporated Polk County; cities contracted with the PCSO including Polk City, Frostproof, Eagle Lake, Fort Meade, Dundee, and Mulberry; and the town of Hillcrest Heights and the village of Highland Park (a combined population of 406,920 people).

There were 9,248 crimes in 2013 as compared to 8,545 crimes in 2014, a total reduction in reported crimes of 7.60%.  This decline continues a trend of six consecutive years of lower crime and crime rates in PCSO’s jurisdiction.  Crime declined 6.53% from 2012 to 2013.

Non-Violent crime is down 7.75% in Polk’s unincorporated area and Sheriff’s Office contract cities. There were a total of 7,922 non-violent crimes in 2013 and 7,308 in 2014, a reduction of 614 crimes.

Violent crime is down 6.71% in Polk’s unincorporated area and Sheriff’s Office contract cities. There were a total of 1,326 violent crimes in 2013 and 1,237 in 2014, a reduction of 89 violent crimes.  The number of homicides in 2014 was 4, the lowest number ever recorded for PCSO’s jurisdictions since reliable statistics have been gathered and reported (since 1971). 

There were decreases in the following crime categories: homicides; forced sex offenses; aggravated assault; burglaries, and larcenies.  Two crime categories showed small increases (robberies and motor vehicle thefts—an increase of 12 robberies and 36 vehicle thefts); overall crime was down 7.6% and the crime rate (crimes per 100 persons) is down 8.7%.

Crime in the Polk County unincorporated area and Sheriff’s Office contract cities:

Category 2013 2014
Homicides 8 4
Forced Sex Offenses 128 94
Robberies 147 159
Aggravated Assaults 1,043 980
Burglaries 2,693 2,466
Larcenies 4,689 4,266
Motor Vehicle Thefts 540 576
TOTAL CRIMES 9,248 8,545

Polk crime rate is at historic low.

Polk County’s crime rate in the unincorporated areas and contract cities (for which the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is responsible) also dropped from 2013 to 2014, according to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics reported annually to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The crime rate, which is the number of crimes per 100 residents, is down 8.7% from 2013 (2.30) to 2014 (2.10). This is the lowest crime rate ever measured in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, breaking the previous record low of 2.30 crimes per 100 from last year. Reliable crime statistics in Polk County started in 1971, when the crime rate was recorded at 4.16 crimes per 100.

Since 1997, the crime rate in Polk County has fallen by 69%.  The Polk/PCSO crime rate is 42% less than the Florida state crime rate (2.1 compared to 3.63)[i]

 

“I could not be more grateful for the people of Polk County and for our men and women of the Sheriff’s Office for the continued decrease in crime in Polk County.  This is the sixth consecutive year of lower crime in our jurisdiction.  This continues our ongoing progress towards improving the quality of life in Polk County for our communities, families, neighbors, businesses, friends, and visitors.  There are many factors that contribute to lower crime—such as target hardening (anti-theft systems in cars, homes, neighborhoods, and businesses), demographic changes, and others—but there are two critically important reasons why crime remains low.  First: convicted felons who are sent to prison in Florida stay there for a minimum of 85% of their sentence (mandated by state statute).  This Florida law, among other tough-on-crime measures, has been tremendously successful in holding criminals accountable for their crimes and separating them from society.  When people who break the law are punished—fairly, swiftly, and without apologies—and they are temporarily separated from civil society, our communities become safer.  Second:  we have developed more effective policing strategies. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office implemented its Proactive Community Attack on Problems (PROCAP) program in 1997. Since then, the crime rate has fallen by 69%.  Our policing philosophy emphasizes proactive strategies, focusing on known community problems, effectively using technology to implement our prevention strategies, and working hand-in-hand with the community.  Because we lock up those responsible for crime, and work hard with the community to prevent, solve, and fight crime, Polk County is a better place to live, work, and play.” —Sheriff Grady Judd

[i] 2013 FDLE published state crime rate.     Information from Polk County Sheriff’s Office 

Florida Flywheelers to Return to Ft. Meade

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Ft. Meade, Florida – The Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club is a non profit organization that calls the Ft. Meade area home since 1997. Founded in 1972, the mission of the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine club is to preserve the past for the future. The 23rd Annual Antique Engine and Tractor Show will return to the area on February 18th – 21st of 2015 with a focus on the John Deere. Florida Flywheelers strive to provide information and demonstrations to the general public about steam engines, tractors and many other things from years past. The current location has grown to some 240 acres of displays and tractor pulling track so it is suggested to be prepared to walk or rent a golf cart. This years event will be open from 8am until dark and will cost $7 per person for admission.