SCSO fights arson, threats, vandalism in Lakeland

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Click to enlarge.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office handled the following incidents in Lakeland during the latter half of July. For incidents earlier in the month, see the Aug. 11 edition of The Bartlett Express.

Editor’s note: All suspects are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and values are estimated for stolen/damaged items. These are brief summaries of detailed SCSO reports.

July 15

Autumnlight Drive (other theft/non-specific)

A man said his neighbor on the 9900 block of Autumnlight Drive took a small flagpole from his property. The victim was using the flag and pole to block the view of a camera that the neighbor had placed in a tree and aimed at the victim’s house.

Another neighbor, a juvenile, said he witnessed the theft. The suspect was repositioning the camera on the tree when the witness approached, and the suspect said, “Do you have a problem? … Keep it up and you will.”

The responding deputy saw the camera aimed at the victim’s home and wrote in the report that this is an ongoing issue between the neighbors. (See the July 21 incident involving a damaged security camera and the same two aggrieved neighbors.)

July 20

Canada Road (theft from building)

An employee at Waffle House (3640 Canada Road) said she left her purse on a table in the storage room and later discovered cash was missing around 1 p.m. July 20. She reviewed security footage and named the woman she saw rifling through her purse and taking the money.

A man confirmed that he and the suspect were at the restaurant that day but said he wasn’t aware of the theft.

July 21

Winward Slope Drive (felony vandalism/domestic violence)
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

A mother on the 9800 block of Winward Slope Drive reported July 21 that she suspected her son of vandalizing her SUV while it was parked in her driveway the previous day.

She told him to leave around 8 p.m. July 20, and when they argued he said, “I’ll blow my brains out, and it will be all your fault.”

He moved his belongings out within the next couple of hours and reportedly told her, “See how you like your truck now.” She said she checked her GMC Yukon after he and a companion left because he’s put sugar in her gas tank previously, but she didn’t see any damages.

The next morning, she saw a clear liquid streaking the paint on the passenger side and hood of her Yukon. She estimated damages at $2,500 but said no one actually saw her son apply the liquid.

Her son’s friend texted her that the son had left a suicide note. The mother found it in the house. The note didn’t explicitly say he was going to kill himself but it did mention him dying.

She described another alarming incident that happened midday on July 18, although she didn’t report it at the time. The mother was hosting a gathering of 11 people at her home, including her son. When she told him to leave, he got her rifle, put it to his head in front of everyone and threatened to kill himself. The mother told everyone else to go outside, and she locked herself in her bedroom for about an hour until he calmed down and put the rifle away.

Autumnlight Drive (misdemeanor vandalism)

A man filed a complaint on July 21, saying his neighbor on the 9900 block of Autumnlight Drive damaged one of his surveillance cameras.

The victim said the camera was mounted on a tree near the curb between his house and the suspect’s home. Because of late night traffic in front of his home, he said he aimed the camera at the stop sign east of his home to capture license plate numbers. He said he has video showing the suspect striking the camera with an object.

There was no workable crime scene, and the officer advised him to save the video for a further investigation. The incident is part of ongoing disputes between these neighbors. See the July 15 flagpole theft incident in this report.

July 22

U.S. 64 (misdemeanor vandalism)

A woman working out at LA Fitness (9020 U.S. 64) on July 22 said someone shattered her vehicle’s rear passenger window while she was inside, 7:30-9 p.m. She didn’t find that anything was missing.

July 24

Gainsborough Drive (theft from motor vehicle)

While a family was away between 6 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. July 24, someone stole a man’s backpack from his car on the 9100 block of Gainsborough Drive. The backpack contained a silver Hewlett Packard laptop ($850) and a $100 Visa gift card.

Officers saw no signs of forced entry, and the man said he often left his Pontiac G6 unlocked. A crime scene technician lifted a print from the driver’s side front door handle.

July 27

Canada Road and I-40 (arson)

A witness spotted a man starting a fire with a cigarette lighter at the construction zone at Canada Road and I-40 before dawn on July 27. Three Shelby County Department 65 firefighters on scene pointed the officer to someone lying on a bulldozer on the north side of the intersection. The officer found two cigarette lighters in his pockets.

The man smelled of an intoxicant and said he was staying at the Relax Inn on Canada Road. He also said he had been drinking.

The witness said he and a co-worker spotted a fire in the rear of a company truck around 2:45 p.m. A strap ($35) was on fire, and they extinguished it, guessing that someone must have thrown a cigarette out in the truck. Both men said they then saw the suspect trying to light something next to the fuel tank in one of the bulldozers belonging to Bell Construction.

One officer saw a folded Bud Light box next to the fuel tank, which had its cap removed. The dozer appeared to be undamaged.

A check of NCIC showed that the suspect has an active Texas warrant for DUI and violation of probation.


July 28

Front Nine Drive (intimidation)

A woman said a female friend began sending her threatening messages on July 28 about the friend’s husband. The messages warned the victim not to send pictures or call the friend’s husband, and the messages threatened that the suspect would “f___ you up” and “You messed with the wrong married couple.”

The victim said she hasn’t had any contact with the other woman’s husband.

July 29

Fir Hill Drive (false pretenses/swindle/confidence game)

A woman charged a Michael Kors purse to her debit card on July 18 but never received the product after placing the online order for $70.01. She said she later learned that the site,, was not a real Michael Kors website. She reported the incident on July 29.

July 30

Owl Hill Drive (threatening phone call)

A woman said July 30 that her ex-husband left threatening voice messages on her cell phone around 6 p.m. that night. The messages included “I’m come after you and kill everyone there” and “I’ll bury everyone.”

July 31

Woodland Hills (misdemeanor vandalism)

Officers spotted a Dodge Caravan with a broken driver’s side window around 1:42 a.m. July 31 and contacted the owner. The man, a resident on the 10200 block of Woodland Hills, said he wasn’t aware of the vandalism but recalled hearing a noise outside around 1:30 a.m. He said this has happened previously. Nothing appeared to be missing from the vehicle.

The report notes that a similar incident happened on Breezy Valley Drive at 12:19 a.m.