The burglary took place within hours of Staly becoming Sheriff. Deputies expect to charge four suspects.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office has recovered vehicles, guns, jewelry and other items stolen during the first theft to occur under newly elected Sheriff Rick Staly's watch.
Some of the property, recovered in a search warrant served Jan. 5, was stolen in an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Jan. 3 at 64 Fleming Court, shortly after Staly officially became sheriff at midnight. The Sheriff's Office held a press conference Jan. 6 to highlight its recovery of the stolen property.
Staly noted that the agency does not usually hold press conferences over property crimes. But he wanted to send a message to the community.
"I don’t like people doing crime in our county, so this one was a little personal, like, 'How dare you do a burglary as soon as I become sheriff,'" Staly said. "There's definitely a new sheriff in town," he continued later. "We have a motivated team. And I said in my comments when I was sworn in that the vacancy light is on at the green-roof inn" — the county jail —"and if we have to fill it up, if they're going to do crime, then we're going to do that."
Deputies recovered most of the stolen items during the Jan. 5 search of a suspect's house on Big Bear Lane in Palm Coast. Deputies hadn't made any arrests as of the Jan. 6 press conference, but expect to charge three juveniles and one adult in connection with the crime.
The early-morning burglary on Fleming Court was discovered later in the day Jan. 3 when relatives of the victims, who were out of town, came to check on the house and discovered the crime.
The person who discovered the burglary, Staly said, tried to remove other items from the house to protect them, but as he did so, he left his keys in his 2000 silver Toyota 4Runner in the driveway. "The people who did the initial burglary then stole his car," Staly said. "So he came back out to load his car up with family valuable items, and then discovered his car had been stolen."
A Bunnell Police Department officer soon found the SUV abandoned in Bunnell.
A Sheriff's Office deputy got a tip about a juvenile who might have been involved in the crime, and deputies interviewed the young man and developed probable cause to search his home on Big Bear Lane in Palm Coast. One of the other suspects was related to the juvenile and lived in the same home.
During the search, deputies recovered a number of items stolen from the home burglarized on Fleming Lane Jan. 3 and from another house burglarized on the same street. They believe that some of the other property they recovered was stolen from other homes. Deputies aren't sure where all of those items came from, and hope the owners will come forward to claim them.
The recovered items included two pellet guns, a Mach-10 style semi-automatic handgun, boxes of ammunition and several handgun magazines, a crossbow, a "large amount" of stolen jewelry and many purses, a stolen Xbox with accessories and an iPhone 6, Staly said.
Deputies also recovered a jon boat, stolen from 8 Floyd Court, that they believe the suspects used to paddle down a canal to steal the Toyota 4Runner. Surveillance video showed two young men paddling it toward 64 Fleming Court. Deputies also recovered stolen Ford Mustang and found about three ounces of marijuana, which they believe the suspects had planned to sell.
"There’s always a link between drugs and crime within any community, and this case is absolutely no different," Staly said.
Deputies expect to charge the suspects with armed burglary, grand theft auto and various other burglary charges, Staly said.