Polk County Deputy Sheriff Julio Jose Garcia, 26 was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 22 for unlawful compensation/reward for official behavior, use/display of a firearm during a felony offense, and falsifying an official record/document by a public servant.
“Despite our best efforts, on rare occasions an employee will disappoint us and the communities we serve. When they do, we will hold them accountable for their actions,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.
According to the affidavit, the charges stem from separate allegations made by two women who were arrested by Garcia. The two women told investigating deputies Garcia propositioned them to expose their bodies or allow him to touch their bodies in exchange for preferential treatment. The firearm charge is related to Garcia wearing his agency firearm at the time of the alleged conduct, the sheriff’s office reported.
The first allegation was made on Nov. 4 during an interview about an unrelated investigation. The woman told the detective that she had been propositioned by Garcia while she was under arrest. When confronted with the first allegation on Nov. 5, Garcia told deputies that he wanted to have a lawyer present and that he did not want to speak to deputies about the allegations, reports say.
Continuing to investigate, detectives began reviewing interactions Garcia had with other women arrested by him. One woman contacted by investigating deputies on Jan. 2, told a similar story to the one told by the other woman — that Garcia asked to look at and touch her in exchange for favors.
Detectives conducted an undercover surveillance of Garcia on Jan. 5 and Jan. 9 while he was on duty working in a patrol function. Undercover detectives discovered that Garcia left his assigned area numerous times while on patrol without a request to his supervisor or documenting that he had left his assigned area, the sheriff’s office reported.
Garcia later falsified official records by stating that he had patrolled certain areas at certain times when he was observed by surveilling deputies to be elsewhere, reports say.
Garcia was suspended on Friday, Jan. 17 pending termination procedures. He was arrested Jan. 22 by deputies and was booked into the Polk County Jail.
Garcia was given the opportunity to resign and he refused. Garcia was hired by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in August 2011. His salary was $40,252.
Man arrested for growing pot in house
When Polk County Sheriff’s detectives went to 692 Reindeer Drive in Poinciana on Jan. 21, with a search warrant and knocked on the door, they talked with an unknown male resident. When they identified themselves and why they were there, the suspect refused to open the door though detectives could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside, according to reports.
The PCSO says the suspect then told detectives he wanted to smoke a “joint” first before opening the door but he eventually opened the door and surrendered without incident.
The suspect, David Scott Shultz, 32, was placed under arrest for maintaining a dwelling for drug manufacturing, cultivation of cannabis, possession of cannabis, possession of cannabis over 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia, police reported.
Detectives found Shultz also had an active warrant for his arrest in Osceola County, violation of probation for being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition.
He was booked into the Polk County Jail where he was also put on hold for Osceola County.
While serving the search warrant, detectives located three rooms being used to cultivate marijuana. One bedroom contained a nursery with baby marijuana plants; one bedroom had more mature plants; and one bedroom had mature plants with buds. Detectives seized and destroyed 190 marijuana plants, along with 15 high-intensity bulbs and hoods, eight electric ballasts, pots, fertilizer, and cooling fans.
Disorderly conduct, breach of peace charged
A 27-year-old man was charged with breach of the peace and disorderly conduct on New Year’s Day when would not leave an area after swearing at another person, the Bartow Police Department reports.
Robert White, address unknown, was booked into the Bartow County Jail on the charges, police report, after the incident shortly before midnight on the first day of the new year.
Police were called to Searcy Avenue in Bartow to look into a complaint about trespassing and found White allegedly standing in the road shouting at Michael Burkett. After being told several times to stop shouting White refused, reports say. A neighbor came outside to look into what was going on and soon after other people living on Searcy Avenue began watching the incident, the police department reported.
Man charged with threatening girlfriend
A 45-year-old man was charged with assault when he threatened his girlfriend in an argument in their house on Jan. 4, the Bartow Police Department reported.
Sam Butler and his girlfriend, Patsy Turvin Watts were arguing on their front porch when Butler came over to her and threatened to “bust your brains out because you’re a stupid,” police reported.
This caused the argument to stop and Watts notified police that she was in fear that he was going to hurt her physically, police reported.
Police note that prior to threatening Watts, Butler slammed his fist on a table causing items to fly into the air. One of the items hit Watts but police report they did not charged Butler with battery because they determined her getting hit was not intentional.
Man charged with theft
A 38-year-old man was charged with retail theft after he tried to steal a deli meal and a lemon pepper chicken from Publix on Jan. 7, Bartow Police reported.
Cedrick Lason Cherry was at the Publix on East Van Fleet Drive, where a clerk made a chicken dinner meal for him and on his way out of the deli he also took a lemon pepper chicken. Together the two items cost $14.98.
Cherry then tried to leave the store without paying for the merchandise. An employee of the store stopped Cherry in the parking lot and asked him to come back inside the store and Cherry allegedly dropped the food and ran away, police reported.
Later police found Cherry at the Sunoco gas station on North Broadway and he was held until the store employee positively identified him.
When police checked Cherry’s background they found he had a history of retail theft convictions and he was charged with this theft as a felony, they reported.
Woman arrested for stealing music system, CD
A 36-year-old Bartow woman was charged Jan. 5 with retail theft and resisting arrest after trying to steal a home music system, a Marvin Gaye compact disc and some makeup, the Bartow Police Department reported.
Pearlie Mae Williams allegedly ran from the store after the store’s security alerted the clerk there were items leaving the store that weren’t paid for, but police eventually found her and arrested her despite her attempts to flee from them, police reported.
At about 3:46 p.m., reports say Williams and Frerick Ward went into the Dollar Store at U.S. 17 South and went into the health and beauty isle. Williams reportedly removed several items from the shelf and placed them into a backpack she was wearing. She then selected a CPX home music system and a Marvin Gaye CD, police reported. She then tried to leave the store, however, a store clerk was alerted the theft when the security system on the door buzzed, police reported.
The clerk chased after Williams in the parking lot and she reportedly dropped the music system and CD ran north. The value of the stolen property was $41, police reported.
Inside the store, a shopper told police she saw Williams leave the store with the stolen merchandise and she named who the suspect was, police reported.
In looking for Williams, police found Ward and at first he denied being in the store but when he was told he was seen on video he changed his story, police said. He then told police he did not take part in the theft but did see Williams leave the store with the merchandise without trying to pay for it. Police report they were unable to find Williams.
Later police were patrolling the area of 1310 E. Laurel St. and saw Williams in back of the residence. Williams saw the police and began to run east. Police then shouted at her to stop and Williams stopped, turned around and lifted her arms. The officer then became entangled in vines and Williams began to run east again, police reported. Police then found Williams in a wood area at seventh Avenue and Laurel Street hiding and arrested her, they reported.