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Walton County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco performed an underage buy operation for the sale of alcohol to minors at several businesses in the county. The detail ran from 7:30pm to 10pm on July 22nd.

The following is a list of places WCSO and ABT conducted underage test buys on. Two buys were made from Wine World at Water Color and Tom Thumb Store #80. Eilene McGarey and Brian McGough were both given a Notice to Appear as a result of the operation.

 

BUDDYS FOOD MART #2 
10970 Hwy 98 Inlet Beach

 

PEDDLER'S PUB
10343 E. COUNTY HIGHWAY 30A KIOSK 1 Seacrest Beach

 

TOM THUMB FOOD STORE #86
3871 E COUNTY HWY 30A Santa Rosa Beach

 

PUBLIX SUPER MARKETS, INC #0153
110 WATERCOLOR WAY Santa Rosa Beach

 

 

EMERALD COAST WINE & SPIRITS 
88 WATERCOLOR WAY Santa Rosa Beach

 

WINE WORLD AT WATERCOLOR 
1735 EAST COUNTY HIGHWAY 30A Santa Rosa Beach
Positive buy Bottle of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay

 

SALLY'S BY THE SEASTORE
2320 W COUNTY HIGHWAY 30A Santa Rosa Beach

 

TOM THUMB FOOD STORE #80
5044 W COUNTY HWY 30A Santa Rosa Beach
Positive Buy 4 pack Coors Light

 

EXPRESS LANE #65
7930 WEST COUNTY HWY 30A Santa Rosa Beach

 

Walton County Sheriff’s Office is proud of the businesses in our area and we are happy to report the majority were in compliance of the law. We want to make sure as we get closer to the beginning of the school year that the proper steps are taken to ensure alcohol does not end up in the hands of minors.

           More than a dozen deputies are to thank for performing a flawless buy/sting operation leading to the recovery of two YETI coolers in Walton County over the weekend. The top-of-the-line coolers are a hot item for thieves looking for an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.

While working three burglaries and thefts of three YETI coolers Saturday evening on Eastern Lake Road one of the victims told deputies they found a post on Craiglist advertising two Yeti coolers identical to the ones stolen.

Deputy Nick Embry checked the posting and agreed the items listed were the victim’s coolers. WCSO Sergeant Cory Webster was notified and obtained permission to conduct a buy/sting in Inlet Beach.

Deputy Don Fernandez changed into street clothes and drove an unmarked vehicle to the “buy” with Sergeant Webster hiding in the back seat. Two suspects, later identified as David Slater Sills and Zachary Allen Ard were identified by deputies as the sellers. The deal went down with Sills running from the scene when he spotted Deputy Embry’s marked unit coming towards him. He was captured on the beach 20 minutes later by Beach Patrol Deputy Jason Day. Both suspects were booked into the Walton County and then remanded to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice and taken to Crestview for intake.

Both suspects are being charged with felony burglary and dealing in stolen property. Sills is being charged with resisting an officer without violence, which is also a felony. In a post Miranda interview, Ard admitted to the crimes and implicated Sills as well.  Sills did not give a statement.

The third YETI cooler was recovered the following morning at the suspect’s home.

 

This operation is a great example of how committed our deputies are to taking thieves off the streets and serving our community. 

On Saturday night deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence on Winston lane at Inlet Beach in Walton County, Fla in reference to a battery.

When they arrived deputies spoke to the caller and learned three boys had been fishing on the beach when the suspect, later identified as Buffalo Bills Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer, and the suspect’s son confronted them over the use of beach chairs left by a beach access.

Victims told deputies Kromer grabbed their fishing pole and threw the pole into the water and then pushed one of the boys to the ground and punched him in the face. It was stated Kromer then told the boys to return the chairs to where they found them.

The victim stated Kromer also told him if he reported him to the police he would kill his family.

Kromer was subsequently arrested early Sunday morning on a misdemeanor battery charge and transported and booked into the Walton County Jail. He has since been released on bond.

WCSO is continuing to investigate and additional charges may be filed. WCSO executive staff will be reviewing this case first thing Monday morning when the redacted arrest report will be made available. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Available now is a new technology helping residents in Walton County receive emergency services through text message. The service provides a new way to reach 911 never used before in Northwest Florida. Text to 911 is a new feature available on all major carriers in Walton County.

Citizens who are deaf, hearing impaired, or have a speech disability can now send a “short message” (SMS) text to 911 during an emergency. When a voice call might be dangerous or otherwise impossible texting to 911 is now a safe alternative.

Residents should check with their wireless phone company before texting to 911. In general, you must have a text-capable wireless phone and wireless service subscription or contact with a wireless company with a “data plan”.

Texting to 911 is different from making a voice call to 911. When making a voice call dispatchers will typically receive your phone number and your approximate location automatically. However, in most cases when you text 911 from a wireless phone, the dispatcher receiving the information will not know the texting party’s location.

For this reason, when sending a text message to 911 it is imperative to also send your location as quickly as possible.

 

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is the first to introduce this new technology LIVE in Northwest Florida. This is a prime example of how we are continuing to work to keep our community safe. 

Seacrest, Fla— A 25-year-old Georgia man is arrested following a domestic dispute at a Seacrest condominium. 

On June 5th deputies were dispatched to the Inn at Seacrest where a victim provided a sworn swritten statement that her boyfriend Michael C. Griffin became angry and struck her in the face with an open hand, hit her with a gun, and put the weapon to her head.

The victim said the pair had been drinking at a nearby restaurant and had gotten into a verbal argument that quickly escalated.

Deputies found Griffin hiding in some thick brush south of the condo where he denied anything physical happened.

Further investigation revealed the victim had obvious marks to her face and mouth and a knot was visible on her forehead.

 

Griffin was placed under arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and booked into the Walton County Jail. 

Mossy Head, Fla— A runaway juvenile wanted out of Okaloosa County is now behind bars once again.

On June 4th just after midnight deputies responded to a call regarding a burglary at the Raceway located at 14338 State Road 10 (U.S. Highway 90).  When they arrived deputies discovered the store’s front door had been shattered and while clearing the building found blood by the cigarettes.

Surveillance footage from the store shows the suspect making entry, carrying his own plastic bag, breaking the front door glass with a shock absorber from a motorcycle. The part was found at the scene (pictured).

Surveillance video also shows the suspect walking into the store wearing a mask to hide his identity in a camouflage hat, jeans, and a long sleeve plaid shirt stealing nineteen cartons of cigarettes.  

A clerk recognized the clothes worn by the suspect, which lead deputies to a home located at 14888 U.S. Highway 90 where investigators found Michael Allen Stiles, 16, and his 18-year-old roommate. Deputies noticed Stiles had an injury to his hand.

Consent was given to search the property. Further investigation revealed a bloody shirt, plastic bag, and the cartons of cigarettes stolen from the Raceway inside the home.

Outside the house deputies also located one of two rear shock absorbers to a motorcycle. The part matches the absorber found at the scene used to break the window.

Stiles is being charged with criminal mischief, burglary, and grand theft. The juvenile’s extensive criminal history is the reason Walton County Sheriff’s Office feels compelled to release this information.

“It’s sad to see this kind of criminality in such a young man,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “But he will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

 

Stiles was booked into the Walton County Jail and is being transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice. 

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— A trespassing call lands a 61-year-old man behind bars in Walton County after investigators discover a meth lab, paraphernalia, and methamphetamine oil weighing more than 200 grams.

Deputies responded to 507 Rockman Lane in reference to a trespassing call for service just before noon on June 3rd. After arriving on scene and making contact with the suspect it was learned the man, identified as Michael Joe Potter, 61, had a warrant out of Holmes County.

Potter was read his Miranda rights and then proceeded to tell deputies he had a meth lab inside the home.

Investigators found three bottles of a bi-layer liquid, three glass jars with a single layer liquid which were later identified as meth oil. Three pill bottles were also located with finished product methamphetamine inside. Potter also had lye, ammonium nitrate, lithium batteries, funnels, Muriatic acid, Coleman fuel, hydrogen peroxide, and acetone – all used for making meth.

 

Potter was arrested for trafficking meth, a felony, possession of drug paraphernalia, and was also booked for Violation of Probation out of Holmes County.   

Defuniak Springs, Fla— A 23-year-old Panama City woman is arrested after leading Defuniak Springs Police on a pursuit while exceeding 100 miles per hour.

On June 1, 2015 just before 6am a Walton County Sheriff’s Deputy on an off-duty detail was dispatched to a pursuit of a vehicle traveling west on Highway 90 passing Kings Lake Boulevard. The vehicle the suspect was driving, a Hertz rental car, was confirmed stolen and the driver was thought to be armed.

The deputy drove closer to the location pulling over at Blackstone Golf Course and could see a vehicle passing cars to the east. As the vehicles were approaching the Blackstone Golf Course the deputy spotted the vehicle, a black Buick with Tennessee tags, and a female driver.

The deputy pursued the vehicle with lights and sirens activated and just east of Rainbow Drive the driver lost control and spun out. Mahogny Ina Sharde Patrick, 23, was placed under arrest when deputies found she did not have a valid driver’s license and that the vehicle was confirmed stolen out of Douglasville Police Department, Georgia.

Mahogny Ina Sharde Patrick was arrested and booked on charges of fleeing and eluding, grand theft auto, and driving while license suspended.

 

DeFuniak Springs Police Department has additional charges pending.

A great deal of illegal drugs and drug money has been taken off the streets thanks to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office VICE/Narcotics Unit and Patrol Bureau.

On May 14, 2015, members of the WSCO teams executed a probable cause search warrant at 226 Central 8th Street in Santa Rosa Beach. The search warrant was part of an extensive investigation into the distribution of illegal narcotics.

In their search investigators discovered over a pound of marijuana, cocaine, Xanax, Hydrocodone, drug paraphernalia, and over $8,000 in US currency.

Three residents of 226 Central 8th Street were arrested during the course of the search warrant:

 

David Henry Key, 24, was charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Charles Ryan Binford, 23, was charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, possession of a Controlled Substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Michael Hunter Griffith, 23, was charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

All three were transported and booked into the Walton County Jail.

An 89-year-old woman is now in good hands after falling ill inside her home. Dispatchers tried to get a hold of the Freeport native at 8am Tuesday morning May 12th, but were unable to reach her.

Deputy Justin Tisdale was dispatched to the home where he and dispatchers continued to try to make contact with her. Tisdale could hear a television, but the woman did not come to the door. After several attempts to make contact the deputy made entry into the home and found the victim on the floor. She was responsive and EMS responded and transported her to Sacred Heart Hospital.

Wednesday Michael Johnson, a volunteer member of the WCSO Posse, checked-in on the woman in the hospital bringing her flowers and visiting using personal money and time.

Safety Net is an elderly call care service where participants can be called between 6am and 8am to be checked on daily. If contact cannot be made after multiple attempts than a deputy is called to respond. Walton County Sheriff’s Office has been participating in the effort for 30 years.

 

For information on client enrollment or to make a donation, you may contact Volunteer Coordinator Leah Snaith at (850) 892-8186.