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On three separate occasions, Matthew Legrant Kirchner, entered the Columbia Sportswear Company store located at 10746 West US Highway 98, with no merchandise but video surveillance revealed that Kirchner was collecting merchandise from within the store and bringing it to the counter to request a refund. Kirchner received approximately $497.28 worth of gift cards for merchandise he did not pay for. Photo identification was provided each time by Kirchner to prove his identity.
Kirchner, 34, of 450 S Geronimo Street, Miramar Beach is charged with three counts of larceny.

During an awards ceremony held this afternoon, Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Jr., recognized the following award winners.


Deputy Tammy Henderson was named Sworn Employee of the Year for 2014.  On February 26th, Deputy Henderson responded to a DeFuniak Springs home for a welfare check and found the resident to be in need of basic necessities such as food and telephone service.  Deputy Henderson was able to re-establish service with the telephone company and notified Adult Protective Services.  Deputy Henderson purchased food for the resident to get them by until Adult Protective Services could intervene.  She also purchased basic household necessities and food for his dog.  Lead Communications Officer, Rhonda Roberson, who relayed the welfare check to Deputy Henderson stated “This is an unselfish act Deputy Henderson took upon herself to help an elderly man and she can take special pride in knowing that her efforts positively affect the quality of life in Walton County.”  While on patrol, Deputy Henderson has made it a point to visit numerous times with the individual who is now receiving assistance from the Department of Children and Families.



Ryan McCormick was chosen as the 2014 Detention Deputy of the Year.  McCormick’s supervisor, Sergeant John Moring describes Detention Deputy McCormick as a “key member of the team and is respected among his peers.  His dedication to the jail knows no bounds and he has been instrumental in making sure the warrants division runs smoothly.  McCormick shows a true passion for what he does, is always open to new challenges and without fail, always displays a positive work ethic.”  McCormick is also a member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). 



Communications Officer Sharon Bryan was selected as the Non-Sworn Employee of the Year for 2014.  On October 30, 2014, Bryan answered a 911 call and heard a very faint “help me” over the phone.  Bryan utilized her positron equipment to get the address and relay the location to deputies and paramedics.  Hearing the caller gasp for breath, Bryan reassured the caller that help was on the way.  Bryan’s supervisor, Lead Communications Officer Monica Webster stated, “Sharon remained calm and showed compassion in continually giving reassurance that help was coming.  I believe, by Sharon staying on the phone during this time, she gave comfort to the caller and remained on the phone until paramedics were on scene assisting the patient.





The 2014 Volunteer of the Year award is going to two people, Don and Florence Allonge.  Both are dedicated members to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Posse Unit and donate a significant amount of their time to help the citizens of Walton County.  Don and Florence volunteer in a large number of ways such as directing school traffic, escorting funerals, community events and help supplement non-essential patrol duties.  Posse Unit Supervisor, Deputy Harold Shover stated that “they have volunteered more than 4000 hours, saving tax payers thousands of dollars.  Both work 6 days a week and oversee the maintenance and equipment for the Posse vehicle fleet.  Their uniforms and appearance are above reproach and they set the standard for the Posse members to follow.  Given Don’s prior law enforcement experience, fellow Posse members look to him for guidance to resolve issues and get advice on assignments.  Florence also teaches other members of the unit computer skills.  Don and Florence show a true love in all that they do for the Sheriff’s Office and they are always personal and professional.”

A conversation with a store clerk has led to the arrest of a burglary suspect.  On the eve of February 6th or early morning hours of February 7th, 2015, patrol deputies responded to a car burglary involving a stolen iPod Touch, a Garmin GPS and two pairs of sunglasses.  The incident took place outside a home on Tradwinds Drive in Santa Rosa Beach.  In a separate incident, the breaking of a car window was reported to the Sheriff’s Office by the homeowners who lived next door.  A deputy who was conducting a neighborhood canvass stopped at the Exon Gas Station located off 30A West and Highway 98 and spoke with the store clerk to see if they were aware of any suspicious activity.  During the conversation, the store clerk mentioned that an individual was in the store between 1 am and 3 am on February 7th and that the individual stated he had stolen an iPod and GPS out of a vehicle and attempted to break a window out of a second vehicle.  The deputy got a witness statement from the clerk and video from the store security camera of the suspect showing the store clerk what appeared to be an iPod Touch.  All the information was turned over to Sheriff’s Office investigators who were able to get positive identification of the suspect through a photo lineup and witness statements.




Brandon Bautista, 18, of 52 Shelter Cove Drive, Santa Rosa Beach, is charged with burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, larceny and criminal mischief. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending.


In October 2014, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office underwent an extensive independent inspection by an assessment team selected by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA).  The assessment team reviewed all Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures which included written documentation, personnel interviews, agency operations, and facility inspections to ensure compliance with the Florida state accreditation standards.  On February 25th, 2015, the Commission (CFA) met in Daytona Beach to review those Florida criminal justice agencies eligible for initial accreditation and reaccreditation status.  During the panel review prior to the Commission meeting, the Assessment Team Leader, Grant Scott, reported that the Walton County Sheriff’s Office was in 100% compliance with all (254) standards.  In addition, Grant reported that no corrective actions were required in the “flawless” on-site conducted at the WCSO.  During the full commission meeting, Sheriff Adkinson was praised as one of the most forward-thinking, progressive Sheriffs in the State of Florida.  As a result of the rigorous on-site assessment and the review, The Walton County Sheriff’s Office was awarded reaccredited status by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. 


Sheriff Adkinson gave credit to the employees of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for their continued hard work and dedication to the citizens of Walton County and their “Commitment to Excellence.”






Last night (Saturday), several 911 hang up calls were received by Sheriff’s Office Dispatch. During the 911 calls, the victim was able to relay to dispatchers that she was a passenger in a car and that the driver, Michael Huber, was refusing to let her out of the vehicle.  Dispatch was able to ping the 911 hang up calls on multiple locations along Highway 98 heading east bound.  The last ping was in the area of Highway 98 and 395.  Deputies in the area observed a vehicle turn into a business complex off Watersound Parkway.  The vehicle, along with Huber and the victim,   were located in a parking lot behind a business.




The victim was unharmed during the incident and taken home by law enforcement.  The suspect, Michael Huber, 33, 132 Seaclusion Circle Road, #7, Santa Rosa Beach, was placed under arrest and charged with false imprisonment, resisting without violence, and depriving or interfering with 911 calls. 



Walton County Sheriff’s Office Investigators arrested Billie Ray Thompson, 41, of 898 Chesser Road, DeFuniak Springs, for armed burglary and shooting into an occupied dwelling early this morning (Sunday).  Per victim and witness statement’s, Thompson, forcefully opened a locked door to a camper located at 108 McCewen Street, Bruce, FL.  The two victims inside the camper called 911 and told Thompson to leave.  Thompson exited the porch of the camper and discharged nine rounds from his .40 caliber Hi-Point pistol, which penetrated the inside and outside of the camper.  The victims inside the camper were not injured when the shooting took place. 


The .40 caliber Hi-Point pistol along with .40 caliber ammunition was recovered from Thompson’s residence after consent was given.  Thompson was booked at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Jail.

Members of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a shooting that occurred at approximately 3 am this morning. The incident took place at a trailer located in Simpler’s Fish Camp in Freeport, Florida. The caller reported that a male subject had fired several rounds into an occupied residence. Deputies quickly responded to the scene along with members of the Criminal Investigations Bureau and Crime Scene Technicians. No injuries were reported and further information will be released once available.



During the early morning hours of Saturday, January 24, 2015, Robert William Woods, 20, of 468 Forest Shore Drive, Miramar Beach, burglarized a home and vehicle off Bayshore Drive in Miramar Beach. Woods first entered an unlocked vehicle and then attempted to enter the home by gaining access through the pool area by cutting the screen.  As Woods attempted to open the back sliding glass door, the residential alarm sounded and he fled the area.  Upon investigation, deputies and crime scene investigators discovered a blood transfer on the fence which Woods damaged.  DNA was taken and a lab report was received yesterday, February 19th, matching Woods.  

A second incident occurred on January 24th at a residence off Shore Drive in Miramar Beach, where Woods trespassed and entered an unenclosed curtilage of the residence to commit a crime.  Woods also left his blood on the victim’s fence post.  A lab report confirmed that the blood matched Woods.  Investigators obtained arrest warrants for Woods the same day and he was arrested. 


Woods is charged with burglary to an occupied dwelling, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, two counts of criminal mischief and trespassing.  Possible further charges pending. 


WCSO Patrol Deputies are investigating three cases of occupied residential burglaries that have occurred in Miramar Beach and Santa Rosa Beach.  In all 3 cases, the residents were home and asleep, when an individual entered their residence and took wallets, purses and other valuable items.  Deputies were told by the victims that the garage doors were left open with the interior garage door unlocked.  The cases have been forwarded to the criminal investigations bureau of the sheriff’s office. 


The WCSO wants to inform the public of what is happening and urges everyone to be proactive and secure their personal items and LOCK their doors.


The WCSO has received multiple complaints of a con man posing as a sheriff’s office employee in an attempt to get money. The caller states that a family member has a warrant for their arrest but in lieu of arrest, the caller requests money over the phone.  Another ruse is telling potential victims they missed jury duty and they are being fined $2000.00, but if the person settles the issue that day, they will accept $500.00 transferrable electronically. 

 At no time will the sheriff’s office ever solicit money and wants to remind citizen’s to not give out any personal information over the phone.  Anyone who has fallen victim to the bogus caller is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 850.892.8111.