CCSO seeks tips for suspect in Inverness-area vehicle burglaries

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help to identify a person captured on surveillance cameras who is alleged to have burglarized multiple vehicles in the Inverness area.

Surveillance photo of a man wanted by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office in connection with a string of vehicle burglaries in the Inverness area. (Courtesy photo)

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help to identify a person captured on surveillance cameras who is alleged to have burglarized multiple vehicles in the Inverness area.

The Sheriff’s Office said the person of interest appears in surveillance photos to be a white male, with dark facial hair, and tattoos on both of his arms.

Tattoos are unidentified at this time, the CCSO said, but appear to extend down onto his left hand. (Please refer to the photo accompanying this news article).

If you have any information about this subject, call the CCSO’s non-emergency line at (352) 726-1121. You can also call Citrus County Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-888-ANY-TIPS and be eligible for a reward.

CCSO shutters 2 gambling dens

Citrus County deputies on Thursday shut down two gambling storefronts, one in Inverness and one in Homosassa.

Gambling equipment seized during a search warrant at businesses in Homosassa and Inverness

Citrus County deputies on Thursday shut down two gambling storefronts, one in Inverness and one in Homosassa.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) and detectives took down The Time Square Internet Sweepstakes Cafe at 3814 East Gulf to Lake Highway in Inverness and at Lucky U 777 at 3538 S Suncoast Blvd. in Homosassa. The search warrant executions are the result of a several week’s investigation into illegal gambling establishments in the community.

The search warrant executions are the result of a several weeks’ investigation into illegal gambling establishments in the community, The Sheriff’s Office said.

Detectives conducted undercover operations to gather information on the illegal operations of these so-called “games of skill,” which would pay out money to winning players which, the CCSO said. constituted the game as a gamble, which is against the law. Investigations such as this take time, since it is imperative to make strong criminal cases against these establishments and gather intelligence that will lead to the actual owners. Each of these cases will be reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office before any charges or warrants are issued. 

Some of the loot taken in the search warrant executed in Homosassa and Inverness businesses

“Some of these establishments are run like a sophisticated criminal enterprise, instituting many levels of protection between the facility and the actual owner,” said CCSO Sergeant Blair. “There are the actual owners, money runners, shell corporations, managers, and gaming facility staff. The staff in most of these cases do not know who actually owns the illicit gaming facility. Once our investigation into these facilities was complete, detectives constructed a plan to shut down their operations.” 

While executing the search warrants at both businesses, detectives, deputies and forensics personnel confiscated a total of six machines, together with various hard drives, numerous documents and $32,592 in cash. Two individuals on scene were arrested for outstanding warrants not related to this investigation. 

Additional arrests were not made during this initial phase of the operation. Once all available intelligence is gathered, warrants will be issued for those responsible for these illegal gambling storefronts. Surrounding businesses were thankful for the bust, the CCSO said, and noted it would curb the drug and criminal activity that they witnessed out in the parking lot of the establishment.

“There are several of these illegal operations in our community, and we plan to eradicate each one. If you are an owner, operator, employee or even landlord of an illicit gambling operation, this is your notice – close down or be shut down,” said Sheriff Prendergast. 

“The gaming laws pertaining to legal gambling are specific, and those who rent to these illegal establishments can be arrested. Take action now before it’s too late. If you’re fishing,’ you better hope to be on a boat with a pole when we show up. If not, you may be a fish out of water in our Lecanto jail.”

“Some of these establishments are run like a sophisticated criminal enterprise, instituting many levels of protection between the facility and the actual owner,” said CCSO Sergeant Blair. “There are the actual owners, money runners, shell corporations, managers, and gaming facility staff. The staff in most of these cases do not know who actually owns the illicit gaming facility. Once our investigation into these facilities was complete, detectives constructed a plan to shut down their operations.”

While executing the search warrants at both businesses, detectives, deputies and forensics personnel confiscated a total of six machines, together with various hard drives, numerous documents and $32,592 in cash. Two individuals on scene were arrested for outstanding warrants not related to this investigation.

Additional arrests were not made during this initial phase of the operation. Once all available intelligence is gathered, warrants will be issued for those responsible for these illegal gambling storefronts. Surrounding businesses were thankful for the bust, the CCSO said, and noted it would curb the drug and criminal activity that they witnessed out in the parking lot of the establishment.

“There are several of these illegal operations in our community, and we plan to eradicate each one. If you are an owner, operator, employee or even landlord of an illicit gambling operation, this is your notice – close down or be shut down,” said Sheriff Prendergast.

“The gaming laws pertaining to legal gambling are specific, and those who rent to these illegal establishments can be arrested. Take action now before it’s too late. If you’re fishing,’ you better hope to be on a boat with a pole when we show up. If not, you may be a fish out of water in our Lecanto jail.”

Citrus County Citizens’ Academy Recognizes Fall 2018 Graduates

Citizen Academy Facilitator Doug Wright was joined by fall 2018 Citizen Academy Graduates. FROM LEFT: Bea Wright, Cathy Uranni, Mary Laurence, June Randall, Facilitator, Doug Wright, Candi Arnesen and Cathy Schafer. (PHOTO: Cynthia Oswald, BOCC Public Information Officer)

The 2018 Fall Citizens Academy Graduation Event was held on Dec. 13 at the Citrus FCounty Courthouse in Inverness.

acilitator Doug Wright congratulated the participants. and thanked them for spending time learning more about local government.

Graduates recognized for their participation were Bea Wright, Cathy Uranni, Mary Laurence, June Randall, Candi Arnesen, Cathy Schafer, Anne Amann and Patricia Clayton.

The Citrus County Citizens’ Academy is an interactive program that focuses on educating citizens about the County’s governmental operations. Elected officials, Constitutional Officers, Department Directors and county staff host unique and informative sessions designed to give a hands-on inside look into county government operations.

Participants learn about our local government, the community in which we live, and at the end of the twelve sessions, have made new friends, and most of all gained knowledge to be great ambassadors within our community.

For more information on the Citizens’ Academy program or to register for the spring 2019 session please contact Doug Wright at: douglas.wright@citrusbocc.com.