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Sheriff: Phone scam going on
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Updated: 06/11/2014 08:00:01AM

Sheriff: Phone scam going on

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Christopher Finlayson

Rodney Brown

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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is seeing an increase in telephone scams in Polk County where the caller identifies himself as a “tax crime investigator” and threatens bodily harm if the victims don’t pay up.

In one recent case, the scam artist told the victim that he would come to her house and kidnap her if she didn’t pay money she owed to the IRS. The 92-year-old woman paid out $8,000 before reporting it to PCSO, the sheriff’s office reports.

“Never send money to someone you do not know,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Man charged with fracturing 11-month-old’s skull

A 24-year-old man was charged Friday with throwing an 11-month-old baby who suffered a skull fracture, two broken wrists and five fractured ribs.

Christopher Finlayson, 5600 Cypress Gardens Road, Winter Haven, was charged with aggravated child abuse in the incident, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports.

The baby had been left in Finlayson’s care while the mother went to the store on June 5. When she returned around 7 p.m., the baby was unresponsive. She questioned Finlayson, who told her the baby had hit its head on a playpen.

The mother took the baby to Winter Haven Hospital which in turn contacted the PCSO.

Finlayson admitted to detectives he had smoked a “blunt and a half” of marijuana on Wednesday and had been up the night before, and that he “lost it,” and in a moment of rage and frustration threw the baby across the room when he could not stop the baby’s cries.

Finlayson told detectives he told the baby, “I’ll give you something to cry about,” before throwing the baby into the air toward the end of a bed causing the baby to hit face first on the floor.

Finlayson admitted, on previous occasions, he has yelled at the baby in an attempt to “scare” the baby into being quiet, the sheriff’s office reported.

The baby, listed in stable condition, was transported to St Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa for continued medical treatment.

Finlayson was arrested in June 2013 by Winter Haven Police for battery, criminal mischief and tampering/harassing witness/victim or informant. He was booked into the Polk County Jail without bond.

Man gets life sentence for drug murder

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting to death an 18-year-old high school student in 2012.

A Polk County judge sentenced 21-year-old Ethan Lucas on Tuesday after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder and attempted robbery.

Lucas killed Alicia Barnett in an attempt to steal marijuana that she was selling.

Lucas’ attorney argued during the trial that Lucas was not guilty because he was at home during the time of the murder.

Antonio Callaway, who was also charged in the crime, will be tried in August.

— The Associated Press

Lakeland man charged with striking brother with pot plants

Rodney J. Brown, 31, Lakeland, was arrested on Saturday, June 7, and charged with throwing a marijuana plant at his brother’s face.

He was charged with domestic battery, cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana over 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office got a call about a domestic disturbance in north Lakeland, at approximately 6:20 pm, on Saturday. The victim, Jackie Brown, 33, reported that he and his brother had been involved in a verbal altercation which turned physical. Jackie Brown told deputies his brother had struck him with “a plant from the yard.”

The men live together in the same place and during the argument, Rodney Brown uprooted several cannabis plants in varying lengths and “struck the victim in the face” with the plants, the sheiff’s office reports.

Rodney Brown, the homeowner, allowed deputies to search the property where they found 10 marijuana plants outside and drug paraphernalia inside the residence

Rodney was arrested and transported to the Polk County jail without incident. He has since bonded out.

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