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Three Teens Arrested in Winter Haven for Burglary During State of Emergency in Aftermath of Hurricane Irma

On Monday evening, September 11, 2017, Polk County Sheriff’s deputies arrested three teens for burglary during a state of emergency (commonly known as “looting”), and one for resisting arrest, after the Dollar General store located at 5964 CR 542 West in Winter Haven was burglarized.

“We remain vigilant to arrest people who are taking advantage of closed businesses and residences in the aftermath of this storm, regardless of their age. Three of these teens have criminal histories, including felonies. We will not tolerate this type of behavior.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

According to their affidavits, PCSO responded an alarm call from the store around 10:20 p.m. that evening. When deputies arrived on-scene, they noted the front door was damaged, and the store had been broken into. They set up a perimeter, including a K-9 team. No suspects were found inside, however, items of clothing were found in a wooded area near the store, and adjacent to a facility that houses teens.

Dollar General management arrived on-scene and determined nothing had been taken, and it appeared the suspects were scared away once the alarm sounded.

Deputies interviewed staff members at the nearby facility where the clothing was found, and identified the three owners of the clothing, who were overheard earlier that day discussing breaking into the Dollar General to steal snacks. A review of the store video surveillance shows three suspects, wearing hoods or masks to cover their faces, broke into the store, bypassed all snack items, and attempted to break into the cash register, without success. They fled the scene once the alarm sounded.

Those arrested are for burglary were:

16-year-old Eugene Fields, IV, charged with: Conspiracy to Commit Burglary (FSS 774.04 (3) (F-3), and Burglary During State of Emergency (FSS 810.02 (4) (A) (F-2); he has six prior felonies, and four prior misdemeanors, to include battery, arson, hindering firefighter, property damage, larceny, and burglary.

16-year-old Dametrious Scaife, charged with: Conspiracy to Commit Burglary (FSS 774.04 (3) (F-3), and Burglary During State of Emergency (FSS 810.02 (4) (A) (F-2); he has one prior felony, and four prior misdemeanors, including battery, burglary, petit theft, VOP, and FTA.

16-year-old Willy Phillips, charged with: Conspiracy to Commit Burglary (FSS 774.04 (3) (F-3), and Burglary During State of Emergency (FSS 810.02 (4) (A) (F-2).

A 16-year-old at the facility who caused a disturbance while deputies were interviewing the suspects was arrested and charged with one count Resisting Arrest Without Violence (M-1). He has three prior felonies and seven prior misdemeanors, to include battery, resisting arrest, burglary, grand theft, criminal mischief, trespassing, and VOP.

Per FSS 119, the name of the facility where the teens live is confidential and exempt. Also per FSS 119, the names of juveniles charged with felonies are public record.



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Staff Reporter

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