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Sheriff Describes How Gang Perpetrated 38 Car Burglaries Looking Mainly For Guns

Six gang members who committed at least 38 car burglaries south of Lakeland with the intent of stealing firearms for gunrunning have been arrested by detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The burglaries and thefts of seven firearms occurred over three nights in four different south Lakeland neighborhoods: 

·       March 11, 2023 in Reflections West (13 car burglaries)

·       May 26, 2023 in Christina Oaks (11 car burglaries)

·       May 28, 2023 in Highlands Crossing and Mission Hills (14 burglaries)

“These burglaries were committed by gang members with the sole purpose to steal guns. They specifically targeted vehicles that were most likely to have firearms within them, often looking for window and bumper stickers with pro-gun messages. This is a very bad group of criminals who intended to steal guns to be used for even more crime.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff.

Many of the burglaries were to locked vehicles and the suspects forced entry using a window punch to smash car windows. 

Because the suspects were primarily focused on stealing guns, they ransacked some vehicles without taking other valuables.

So far, two of the seven stolen firearms have been recovered.

All six suspects are documented gang members and four of the six suspects have gang enhancement penalties on their charges. The PCSO is not identifying the name of the gang.

The arrested gang members are:

·       Kingston Pringle, 17, of Bartow– Charged with: Directing Activities of a Criminal Gang (F1), Armed Burglary of Conveyance (F1, 2-counts), Possession of a Machine Gun (F2), Burglary of Conveyance (F3, 19-counts), Attempted Burglary of Conveyance (F3, 12-counts), Grand Theft (F3, 3-counts), Improper Exhibition of a Firearm (M1), Contributing to Delinquency of a Minor (M1, 3-counts), Criminal Mischief (M1, 24-counts), Possession of Firearm by Minor (M1, 2-counts), Culpable Negligence Expose to Harm (M2, 3-counts), and Petit Theft (M2, 4-counts). There is a total of 75 charges with a gang enhancement. 

The State Attorney Office 10th Judicial Circuit will be prosecuting Pringle as an adult on these charges. 

Pringle has prior arrests for residential burglary, conveyance burglaries, and grand theft.

·       Eldred Kellum, Jr., 23, of Lakeland – Charged with: Directing Activities of a Criminal Gang (F1), Armed Burglary of Conveyance (F1, 2-counts), Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon (F2), Felony Petit Theft (F3, 4-counts), Burglary of Conveyance (F3, 18-counts), Attempted Burglary of Conveyance (F3, 12-counts), Grand Theft of Firearm (F3), Grand Theft (F3, 2-counts), and Criminal Mischief (M2, 21-counts). There is a total of 63 charges with a gang enhancement.

Kellum and Pringle coordinated the burglaries and the two of them carried out the Christina Oaks burglaries themselves.

Kellum’s prior criminal history includes Burglary, Theft, VOP, Robbery, Trespassing on School Grounds, Vehicle Theft, Dealing in Stolen Property, Resisting an Officer, Criminal Mischief

·       De’Andre Guilford, 22, of Bartow – Guilford has been charged by Bartow PD with Carrying Concealed Firearm (a firearm that was stolen during one of the PCSO cases) and a warrant arrest for Failure to Appear DWLSR. 

Guilford has had previous arrests for Carrying Concealed Weapon, False Info to LEO, Possession of Marijuana and Carrying a Concealed Firearm. 

·       Taurean Sumrall, 22, of Bartow – Charged with: Directing Activities of a Criminal Gang (F1), Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon (F2), Grand Theft (F3), Possession of MDMA (F3), Possession of Fentanyl (F3), Possession of Amphetamine (F3), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (M1), and DWLSR (M2). There is a total of 8 charges with a gang enhancement.

Sumrall’s primary role was to coordinate the selling of the stolen firearms.

Sumrall has been previously arrested for Carrying Concealed Weapon, False Name to LEO, Obstructing Law Enforcement, Possession of Weapon, Resisting LEO w/o Violence, Violation of Probation and Robbery.

·       Javien Sterling, 19, of Lakeland– Charged with: Burglary of Conveyance (F3, 11-counts), Attempted Burglary of Conveyance (F3, 10-counts), Grand Theft of Firearm (F3, 2-counts), Grand Theft (F3), Tampering with Evidence (F3), Criminal Mischief (M1, 14-counts), and Petit Theft (M2, 2-counts). There is a total of 40 charges with a gang enhancement.

Sterling was recruited by Pringle to be the driver for the group during the burglaries at Highlands Crossing and Mission Hills. 

·       Eric Denson, 18, of Riverview – Denson was the driver during the Reflections West burglaries. He was charged by the PCSO with Carrying a Concealed Weapon (F3), Possession of Marijuana (M1), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (M1). While in the Polk County Jail, Denson was found to be in possession of a knifelike weapon known as a shiv, for which he was charged with Introduction of Contraband to the Jail (F3). He is also facing charged by the Lakeland Police Department for Attempted Murder in the 1st Degree (3-counts) and Shooting into a Dwelling.

During the course of the investigation, PCSO detectives discovered a disturbing video on Pringle’s cell phone in which Pringle was pointing and mock-firing a Glock handgun at three juveniles, one as young as 17-months old. The Glock had been modified into an automatic firearm and had an extended magazine inserted, and Pringle was using the laser site to point the gun directly at the juveniles.

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Carl Fish

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