On Wednesday, July 30, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Johnny Couch, 56, of 1034 Helena Lane, Lakeland and charged him with two counts robbery just a short time after he allegedly committed a second robbery at the same CVS pharmacy.
According to his affidavits, the first robbery happened around 3:25 a.m. on Friday, July 4. An unidentified white male suspect wearing a boonie-style hat walked up to the pharmacist at the CVS located at 5010 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, and handed the pharmacist a note listing the specific prescription drugs he wanted – also written on it were the phrases “this is a robbery” and “I have a gun.”
After the robbery, the suspect fled the scene in an unknown direction.
At 3:05 a.m. Wednesday, July 30, the same suspect walked into the same CVS, wearing the same boonie-style hat, and handed a note to the same pharmacist (who recognized him), demanding prescription drugs and telling her that nobody would be shot if she complied, the sheriff’s office reported.
He complimented the pharmacist on her cooperation on the first robbery, acknowledging that he was the same suspect. After the robbery, witnesses saw the suspect flee in an older-model black convertible Porsche.
At 12:30 p.m. that day they found a Porsche matching that description parked at 5010 S. Florida Ave., where Couch lives.
Couch admitted to committing both of the robberies, police report. He was also positively identified by the victim as the robbery suspect. He was placed under arrest without incident and booked into the Polk County Jail without bond.
Five arrested for mailbox smashing spree
On July 24, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the area of Williams Road, Babson Park, in reference to a vehicle hitting mailboxes in the area.
They received another call from another victim in the area who saw people in a silver truck hitting mailboxes.
Deputies arrived and observed the silver Dodge truck, with several people in the back, traveling northbound on Golfview Cutoff Road at Aldo Road. The deputy followed the truck to make a traffic stop.
That, however, did not happen.
According to reports, the vehicle then accelerated away from the deputy at a high rate of speed trying to flee. Deputies at that point deactivated their lights and sirens and did not chase the truck “for safety of the passengers in the back,” according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies did follow the vehicle from a safe distance and lost sight of it near Palm Avenue and Hillcrest Drive. Aviation and additional units responded to the area in an attempt to locate the vehicle.
Deputies found the vehicle parked behind the residence of 21 Pine St.
They made contact at the front door of the residence with the homeowner, David Hill, and when told by deputies why they were there, Hill advised that his son, Gregory Hill, had just run inside the home and said something about mailboxes.
Gregory Hill was standing in the living room, deputies say, and when he was asked by the deputies where the other people riding in the truck had gone, he said they were hiding in the residence.
Deputies put Gregory in handcuffs for safety. One of the people riding in the truck, a juvenile, was sitting in a chair in the living room and said he was involved as well. He was handcuffed.
Deputies gave several loud verbal commands for anyone else but got no response, so they searched the home. Another juvenile was discovered hiding inside a bedroom and was taken into custody without incident, the sheriff’s office reported. According to reports, Kevin Jobe, 18, was hiding in the same bedroom closet.
Deputies say that when Jobe was ordered to show his hands, he ignored them, so he was, according to reports, “escorted to the ground” and placed in handcuffs.
Another juvenile was found hiding behind a chair in the same bedroom. He was ordered by deputies to come out and allegedly ignored the deputies’ commands, so he was also physically grabbed by the sheriff’s office deputies, escorted to the ground and placed in handcuffs.
All five suspects were read their Miranda warnings, according to reports.
Deputies contacted the victims who lived on Williams Road and Libby Road.
One victim on Williams Road said he heard a loud boom and saw a vehicle leaving the area of his mailbox.
Post Miranda, according to deputies, Jobe stated he was the passenger in the truck, and he said he knew everyone was going to smash mailboxes because they had talked about it. Jobe said he never hit any mailboxes, according to reports, but he encouraged the striking of the mailboxes by yelling. Deputies said Jobe admitted he knew the cops were behind the vehicle, but noted he did not know why Gregory Hill did not stop.
Deputies say that Jobe is on active felony juvenile probation for occupied burglary with a curfew of 8 p.m.
Jobe was charged with criminal mischief and with resisting arrest for hiding in the closet and refusing to obey lawful orders given to him, according to reports. He was also charged with violation of probation for his new law violations and for being out past his curfew.
Three of the juveniles were younger than age 18, and were charged with misdemeanors, according to reports. Greg Hill, 20, was charged with fleeing to elude a marked law enforcement vehicle and criminal mischief of $200 or less.