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.