Month: August 2017

FWC Officers Rescue More Than 200 Texans


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers are continuing to actively assist with disaster response efforts in the Houston area. FWC officers have rescued more than 200 Texans since arriving in the area after being deployed by Governor Scott in response to Texas’ request for emergency assistance. Nearly 125 FWC officers, more than 40 boats, 17 high water vehicles, two Mobile Command Centers, and eight shallow draft vessels are currently in Texas to support ongoing search and rescue and disaster response efforts


Polk County Clerk of Courts Office Closed Monday, Sept. 4


Bartow, Fla. (Aug. 29, 2017) – The Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County
Comptroller offices are closed on Monday, Sept. 4 for Labor Day.
Normal business operations resume Tuesday, September 5 at 8 a.m. Online services
such as traffic ticket payments and records searches are available 24 hours a day, 7
days a week.

Services such as traffic ticket payments and access to court records through Polk
Records Online are available online 24/7. Contact the Polk County Clerk of Courts office
at 863-534- 4000 or visit the Clerk’s office online at Like the
Polk County Clerk Facebook page for updates and announcements.

Decoy bike stolen; two men with lengthy criminal histories arrested

An unlocked bike at the Winn Dixie Shopping Center located at 2630 Hwy 92 E. in Lakeland was too tempting for two Lakeland men yesterday, August 3rd. Working on a crime trend of numerous bicycles being stolen in the surrounding north Combee area of Lakeland, detectives placed an unlocked bicycle in the plaza and waited to see what would happen.
The first taker was 39-year-old Jeffrey Palmer of Lakeland. A little after 13:30 in the afternoon, he hopped on the bike and began to ride it northbound on Combee Rd. Deputies stopped him and asked him about the stolen bike-he said he was simply tired of walking and took the bicycle. Jeffrey Palmer was arrested and charged with 1 count Petit Theft 2nd Offence and Violation of Probation.
Palmer has an extensive criminal history including 34 total felonies and 24 total misdemeanors He was just release from Florida State Prison on July 22nd and he is on active felony probation until July 2019. His previous charges are:
05/23/2016 – Auburndale PD – Grand Theft (MV), Burglary, Criminal Mischief
01/22/2016 – PCSO – Battery
06/03/2015 – PCSO – Probation Violation
04/16/2015 – PCSO – Poss Controlled Substance w/o Prescription, Poss Drug Para
02/28/2015 – PCSO – Poss Meth, Poss Drug Para, Poss 3 Grams or Less Syn Cannabinoid or Bath Salts
01/09/2015 – PCSO – DWLSR, Resist Officer w/o Violence
10/06/2014 – PCSO – Probation Violation
05/27/2014 – PCSO – Poss Drug Para, Tampering in Felony 3rd Degree Proceeding
09/20/2011 – PCSO – Failure to Appear (2 counts)
09/23/2010 – FHP (Bradenton) – Fleeing to LEO at High Speed, DWLSR
09/23/2010 – PCSO – Fleeing ELO at High Speed, DWLSR, Grand Theft (MV)
05/16/2010 – Orange County SO – Contempt of Court
12/05/2009 – Winter Park PD – Petit Theft
09/24/2009 – Marion County SO – Vehicle Theft-Auto
08/01/2009 – PCSO – Resist LEO w/o Violence
04/14/2009 – Hillsborough County SO – Violation of Probation (2 counts)
04/04/2009 – PCSO – Out of County Warrant (2 counts)
01/02/2009 – Hillsborough County SO – Poss Drug Para, Poss Controlled Substance
10/17/2007 – Hillsborough County SO – Probation Violation
10/16/2007 – Fort Meade PD – Out of County Warrant
07/06/2007 – Hillsborough County SO – Violation of Probation (2 counts)
07/06/2007 – PCSO – Out of County Warrant (2 counts)
11/16/2006 – Hillsborough County SO – Felling to Elude, DWLSR
11/16/2006 – Mulberry PD – Refuse to Submit to DUI Test After Lic Susp
09/22/2003 – Tampa PD – Att Tag Not Assigned, DWLSR
06/06/2003 – Hillsborough County SO – Littering
04/12/2003 – Tampa PD – DWLSR
08/13/2002 – PCSO – Probation Violation, DWLSR, Knowing DWLSR, Give False Name to LEO
05/19/2001 – PCSO – Poss Cannabis, Poss Drug Para
12/31/2000 – Hillsborough County SO – Littering Felony
10/25/1999 – PCSO – NVDL
10/21/1999 – Temple Terrace PD – DUI
Palmer previous prison history includes:
2003 – sentenced to one year for Felony DWSLR (Hillsborough)
2005 – sentenced to one year for Felony Fleeing to Elude & Felony DWLSR (Hillsborough)
2010 – sentenced to 3 years for Fleeing from LEO (Polk)
2016 – sentenced to one year for Burglary, Grand Theft Motor Vehicle, Trafficking in Stolen Property (Polk) – just released from prison on July 22, 2017 & on active felony probation until July 2019
The second taker was 46-year-old Carl Ray Smith of Lakeland. A little after 1:30 p.m. Smith stole the bike and rode it eastbound behind the shopping center. When deputies stopped him, he told them that it was hot outside and he was tired of walking. He also said that before he stole the bike he shouted “whose bike is this” three times and whistled. No one responded, so he took the bicycle. He was charged with 1 count of Petit Theft 2nd Offence.
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Carl Smith also has an extensive criminal history, including 13 total felonies and 18 total misdemeanors:
May 2017 – arrested by SAO for FTA
March 2017 – arrested by PCSO for VOP (battery)
December 2015 – arrested by Cook County, GA, for DWLSR
December 2015 – arrested by LPD for battery domestic violence, VOP (possession of meth)
May 2015 – arrested by PCSO for violation of injunction for protection, VOP
June 2014 – arrested by PCSO for VOP
February 2014 – arrested by PCSO for FTA
May 2013 – arrested by possession of meth, prescription drugs, marijuana, paraphernalia
May 2010 – arrested by PCSO for DWLSR, out of county warrant
June 2007 – arrested by PCSO for battery domestic violence
September 2006 – arrested by PCSO for battery
April 1999 – arrested by PCSO for VOP
March 1999 – arrested by PCSO for VOP (agg battery original charge)
June 1998 – arrested by PCSO for battery domestic violence
June 1993 – arrested by PCSO for attempted homicide
March 1992 – arrested by PCSO for attempted sexual assault, kidnapping, battery, harassing phone calls
September 1990 – arrested by HCSO for VOP (grand theft original charge)
February 1990 – arrested by HCSO for burglary, dealing in stolen property, larceny
September 1989 – arrested by HCSO for burglary, larceny
August 1989 – arrested by PCSO for burglary, larceny
Smith has been sentenced to Florida State Prison three times:
1989 – sentenced to 3 years for Burglary, Grand Theft, Trafficking in Stolen Property (Hillsborough)
1989 – sentenced to 2.5 years for Burglary (Polk)
1993 – sentenced to 6 years for Aggravated Battery (Polk)
“If it’s not yours, leave it alone and don’t take it. These two guys have been stealing, taking advantage of people, and hurting people for most of their adult lives. At least they can’t steal in jail.” -Grady Judd, Sheriff

Polk County Fire Rescue EMT Arrested


Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested 28-year-old Kyla Anne Rivas Zehtab of Lakeland on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, for 1 count grand theft (Florida State Statute 812.014) and 1 count forgery (Florida State Statute 817.566). Zehtab was employed by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) since January 3, 2017. Zehtab forged a physical abilities test certificate from the Broward Fire Academy to be eligible for a Firefighter promotion at PCFR (which would have resulted in a higher salary– an additional $11,123 annually).

According to the affidavit, Zehtab was interested in being promoted to a Firefighter position and met all of the qualifications other than the required certification for a physical abilities test. Zehtab told her supervisor at PCFR she had taken the course two times, but failed to obtain her certificate of completion.

On July 19, 2017, Zehtab forwarded to her supervision a copy of a certificate for successful completion of the physical abilities test from the Broward Fire Academy dated June 10, 2017.  Her supervision noticed irregularities while processing the documentation. The text on the certificate appeared to be darker than normal, slanted, and not parallel with the corresponding text on the document.

When PCFR employees contacted the Broward Fire Academy to verify Zehtab’s attendance, they responded saying there was no record of her attending the training, and stated an original document was altered. Director Mark Wilson with the Broward Fire Academy stated, “In reference to your fax of July, 27, 2017, the Broward Fire Academy does not have a record of this person successfully completing a County-wide Ability test at our facility. Furthermore, we are unable to locate a registration form, payment confirmation, or a time/score sheet that would indicate participation on the date identified on the certificate. At this time we must conclude that one of our original documents has been altered and presented to you.”
“Instead of doing the right thing, Ms. Zehtab decided to forge a certificate to make herself eligible for a promotion in order to receive compensation for which she was not entitled. Forging a certificate to be promoted to a Firefighter is not only an integrity issue, but it is also a public safety concern.” Grady Judd, Sheriff

Zehtab has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation by PCFR. “Ms. Zehtab did not meet the high standards set to become a firefighter.  As a result of her actions, such conduct will not be tolerated. Therefore, we notified the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and she was charged criminally. We expect nothing less than professionalism and honesty from our employees!” -Joe Halman, Jr., Deputy County Manager of Public Safety, Polk County Board of County Commissioners.

Inquiries about Zehtab’s employment should be directed to Polk County Fire Rescue’s Public Information Officer Kevin Watler at (863) 232-7357.

Zehtab has been booked into the Polk County jail on the above charges and is being held on no bond pending first appearance hearing.