Thieves and an armed robber kept the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office busy in August. An unlucky buyer paid for stolen paintball equipment, someone stole a sick woman’s pain patch, a son punched his father, and more details emerged about the Zaxby’s robbery and shooting on Aug. 17.
This report covers Lakeland incidents in the first half of August. For the remaining August incidents, see next week’s issue.
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.
Davies Plantation Road East (business burglary)
Someone burglarized the Paintball Park of Memphis (9640 Davies Plantation Road East) Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 8, and an odd twist of fate led to property recovery.
The owner opening the business at 8 p.m. Aug. 4 found that a bay door was pried up enough for someone to enter the building. He made a list of stolen items and at first decided he was going to chalk it up as a loss and not file a sheriff’s report. He changed his mind on Aug. 5 when a suspect emerged.
A man brought in a paintball gun for repair, saying he had just bought it on Craigslist and it wasn’t working right. The owner immediately recognized the custom-made gun as one of the stolen items. The customer returned the paintball gun to him and said he had several other items at home he’d bought after placing an ad for such equipment on Craigslist. As it turned out, all the items purchased were stolen from the paintball park, and the customer later handed over those items too.
The customer said the seller was a black male with dreadlocks in his early 30s, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 150 lbs. He drove an older model black Lincoln vehicle.
The customer released three phone numbers used in communications with the suspect. No other information was available at the time of the report. There was no workable crime scene as the damaged door had already been removed and a new one was being installed.
Canada Road (theft from motor vehicle)
A thief struck while a traveler stopped at Mcdonald’s (3665 Canada Road) around 9:20 p.m. Aug. 6. The victim said he returned in about five minutes and found his passenger side front window broken out. Items stolen included an Apple iPad Mini and Apple iPhone 5 left on the front passenger seat and a Garmin GPS on one window.
The responding officer noted that the restaurant has security cameras, and he also collected fingerprints and photos at the scene.
Canada Road (theft from motor vehicle)
A woman pumping gas on the 3600 block of Canada Road the night of Aug. 6 saw a stranger enter her SUV from the rear. The suspect, a black male wearing a red shirt and gray shorts, took her purse, Apple iPhone 6 Plus and credit cards. He fled south in a black Nissan Maxima on Canada Road toward Interstate 40.
Before she could cancel her credit cards, someone then used her credit card around 10:30 p.m. for two $85 purchases of gas at 2400 Airways. She didn’t immediately have credit card information to give at the time of the report.
The responding officer noticed there were security cameras in use at McDonalds in the area.
Village Circle (theft from motor vehicle)
On Aug. 8, a man reported the theft of his handgun sometime during Aug. 1-2. He said there was one suspicious incident when it might have been taken.
He was mowing the yard on the 9700 block of Village Circle when he noticed three juveniles walking near his Ford F350. The two males and one female were about 10-12 years old, and they were moving slowly. So he circled back toward his vehicle and they began to walk off. The truck had its windows down and the doors unlocked.
He noticed his Kel-Tec semiautomatic gun ($319) was missing from the truck’s glove compartment around 9 a.m. Aug. 2. His gun’s information has been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
Weber Drive (theft from building)
A woman on the 3200 block of Weber Drive noticed that one of her pain patches was missing after she took a shower while her nursing assistant was alone with her in the home. It was Aug. 8, and her dog was barking at the suspect when she emerged from the shower. When she reached for a new Fentanyl transdermal patch, one was missing from a box of five.
She reported the incident on Aug. 11.
Daly Drive (theft from building)
A man who lives on the 9500 block of Daly Drive has reported a friend of three years for allegedly stealing his cell phone ($700).
The woman was using his cell phone in the bedroom around 8 p.m. and asked him for the password, he said. She left shortly afterward. When he noticed the phone was gone, he tried calling it from a neighbor’s house, but no one answered.
He didn’t have any further details on the suspect other than she lives in the Grove Apartments.
Old Brownsville Road/Adagio Lane (simple assault/domestic violence)
A son was driving his father home from a cookout in Lakeland on Aug. 13 when the dad noted he was speeding and asked him to slow down. The dad said his son cursed at him, so the dad told him he needed to move out of his home. The dad said his son then pulled over and told his dad to get out, punching the dad in the left eye before the car came to a full stop.
The responding deputy noticed minor swelling and injuring to the victim’s left eye, but no medical care was needed. The deputy arrested the driver.
U.S. 64 (theft from building)
A customer took advantage of a flustered cashier at Sprouts Farmers Market and profited from it on Aug. 15, the manager reported.
A black male bought a bottle of water around 4 p.m. and then kept saying the cashier gave him the wrong change. He ended up taking $50 from the store, the manager said. Afterward, two black males left the store as another manager walked over and asked the cashier what happened. An overhead surveillance video clearly shows the exchange of money.
U.S. 64 (business robbery)
A customer in the drive-thru of Zaxby’s on Aug. 17 heard a gunshot, saw employees running out and spotted a male inside the store with a gun. She called 911.
Employee #1 said he was taking the trash out when a black male in shorts, a T-shirt and a bandanna across his face approached him and said not to run. They fought, and the suspect hit the victim’s head and shot him in the arm with a handgun, possibly silver. The victim told the responding officer he didn’t know if he was struck in the head by the gun or something else.
The incident began about 9:15 p.m.
Employees #2 and #3 said they were by the back door and heard knocking. They assumed it was Employee #1 after he had dumped the trash, so they opened it. The suspect barged in with a gun and demanded money from the safe. Only the manager could open it, so they took him to the manager.
The thief made off with about $10,000.
A different customer said she was inside, waiting on her boyfriend who works there, when the suspect entered. Two other customers said they ran to the gas station next door when they saw the restaurant was being robbed.
Responding officers saw that the injured employee had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his left arm and a large abrasion to his head above his left eye. They also found an empty shell casing near the dumpster. An ambulance service took the victim to the Med.