Detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were able to solve six recent car burglaries in the Medulla area of Lakeland, after a 14-year old boy accidentally shot himself in the arm with a gun stolen from a burglary victim’s car.
The boy, Keith Booker, was taken to a Tampa hospital with a wound to his left forearm. He will be charged with Armed Burglary (F1, 2-counts), Burglary of Conveyance (F3, 4-counts), Grand Theft of a Firearm (F3, 2-counts), Conspiracy to Commit Burglary (F3), Conspiracy to Commit Theft (F3), Possession of Firearm by Juvenile (M1, 2-counts), Possession of Personal Identification (M1), and Petit Theft (M2, 5-counts).
Two other juvenile boys, 16-year old Lejon Denson and 14-year old Kaiden Benjamin have been charged with the same crimes. All three boys were at Benjamin’s home when Booker accidentally shot himself, and the investigation determined they all committed the crimes.
Six car burglaries are known to have occurred during the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in the Cherry Lane Estates neighborhood.
At about 9:11 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15th, deputies responded to a residence in the Medulla Oaks neighborhood, just off of Old Road 37, after an accidental shooting was reported.
During the investigation of the shooting, Benjamin and Denson initially said they were asleep when Booker was injured from the gun, which they claimed they had found. The boys also denied knowing where they gun was after the shooting.
During a search of the boy’s room, a detective noticed a woman’s Michael Kors wallet with a woman’s identification card inside, and next to the wallet was a debit car which belonged to another woman. An ammunition magazine was also found behind the headboard of the bed. These items had been reported stolen during the burglaries within Cherry Lane Estates, which is adjacent to the Medulla Oaks neighborhood.
After being confronted with the evidence, all three boys admitted to the burglaries, and Benjamin showed detectives where two stolen handguns were hidden near the woods by his home.
“Most car burglaries occur to vehicles that are left unlocked, and as a law enforcement officer, that is very frustrating. Even more frustrating is when a firearm is stolen from an unlocked vehicle. Fortunately, the boy should have a full recovery, and hopefully everyone involved has learned some valuable lessons here.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff.
Benjamin and Denson were taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) in Bartow and charged. Booker will be transported to JAC following his release from the hospital.