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.

Sheriff’s Office takes a crack at heroin with Operation H

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has just concluded an investigation into illegal heroine dealing in the county.

FROM LEFT: Crystal Pascual, Amanda Ingles, Robert Ingles and Kyle Tannock.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has just concluded an investigation into illegal heroine dealing in the county.

As a result, the Sheriff’s Office said today that five people were arrested during what the CCSO called, “Operation H.”

The five were arrested during the execution of a search warrant on Dec. 12 at 119 South Pleasant Grove Road in Inverness.

The CCSO said it had suspected that Roberto Ingles and Crystal Pascal used this residence for criminal drug activity. The overall investigation resulted in five people being arrested for various charges.

Crystal Pascual was arrested during a traffic stop for trafficking in heroin where she was found to be in possession of over an ounce of the drug.  Also in her possession were three grams of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana.

Roberto Ingles was arrested during the search warrant on Wednesday for trafficking in heroin.  In his room, detectives located 13 grams of heroin, 61 grams of marijuana, a small amount of methamphetamine, 3 alprazolam, 31.5 hydromorphone, and 3 morphine tablets.  The investigation revealed he sold the drugs from the home.  The heroin was field-tested and was found to contain fentanyl.

Amanda Ingles was arrested during the search warrant operation for possession of heroin.  Her boyfriend, Kyle Tannock was also arrested on various drug charges to include renting a structure to distribute drugs.

While conducting surveillance at the Pleasant Grove Road home, detectives observed Marcus Morgan, a Tampa resident, frequenting the home and staying for short periods of time.  Detectives were familiar with Morgan from a prior traffic stop in Homosassa, where Morgan sped away from deputies after observing a K-9 unit arriving on scene. The pursuit was canceled due to safety concerns; however, deputies had already identified the suspect.

On one occasion, Morgan was observed leaving the home and after observing a traffic violation, a traffic stop was conducted. As the detective approached the vehicle on foot, Morgan placed the car in drive and sped away. Again, a short vehicle pursuit ensued and was canceled for the same safety concerns.  Arrest warrants were obtained on Morgan for the two traffic incidents.  Morgan was believed to be the drug supplier.

While still gathering intelligence, Morgan was observed again arriving at the home. Once he left the residence, undercover detectives followed him into Hernando County. Contact was made with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, advising them of Morgan’s active warrants and current location. While at a gas station, Morgan was taken into custody. A search of his person and vehicle yielded multiple drugs to include heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.  He was arrested for the local drug charges and was held on his Citrus County Warrants.

Operation H resulted in the following arrests and charges:

Crystal Pascual of Inverness, age 39  – Trafficking in Heroin, Possession with intent to Distribute Cocaine, Possession with intent to Distribute Marijuana, and Possession of Paraphernalia

Robert Ingles of Inverness, age 29 – Trafficking in Heroin, 3 counts Possession of a Controlled Substances (Alprazolam, Hydromorphone, and Morphine), Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 1000 feet of a Daycare, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

* Kyle Tannock of Inverness, age 30 – Own/Rent/Lease a Structure or Conveyance to Traffic Controlled Substances, Resisting without Violence, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Marijuana under 20 grams.

* Amanda Ingles of Inverness, age 29 – Possession of Heroin and Drug Paraphernalia

* Marcus Morgan of Tampa, age 42 – 2 Counts Felony Fleeing to Elude (Hernando) 2 Counts Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Marijuana with intent to Sell, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

“Operation H is just one example of the diligent efforts the men and women of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office make day in and day out to protect and serve the residents of our community.  If these drug dealers think that they can continue to place the residents of Citrus County in jeopardy through their illegal drug sales, they better think again,” said Sheriff Prendergast.

“The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is committed to ending these types of treacherous operations and activities. We placed five criminals under arrest during Operation H and I can tell you now, we are not stopping here. The residents of our county deserve better, and that’s what they are going to get – a safer community and our dedicated efforts to deliver excellence in public safety.”

Man arrested after bomb scare at tax collector office

Nathaniel Michael Perry of Crystal River

A bomb scare was defused on Monday at the Inverness Tax Collector’s Office with the arrest of a Crystal River man.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the CCSO dispatch center received a call at about 4:15 p.m. about a bomb threat at the tax office at 210 N Apopka Ave. Deputies who responded began to evacuate the parking lot of the annex.

After CCSO’s Hazardous Devices Team arrived on scene, suspect Nathaniel Michael Perry of Crystal River was detained, and the package in question was examined. The package contained only clothes and miscellaneous items that posed no danger or threat to others.

Perry was subsequently charged with felony unlawful false report of a bomb, dynamite, deadly explosive, weapon of mass destruction, or use of a firearm in violent manner.

Deputies arrest suspect in Inverness Dollar Store ‘robbery’

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced that the suspect in the attempted robbery of the Inverness Dollar Store has been arrested.

Surveillance footage of suspect inn attempted robbery at a Dollar General Store in Inverness (June 21, 2018)

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced that the suspect in the attempted robbery of the Inverness Dollar Store has been arrested.

Arrested was 18-year-old Austin Moser from Inverness.

After a full confession, Moser was charged with one count of robbery.

 

Deputies seeking man in Inverness Dollar Store caper

Surveillance footage of suspect in an alleged attempted robbery at a Dollar General Store in Inverness (June 21, 2018)

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a suspect after he allegedly tried to rob a Dollar General Store in Inverness on Wednesday night.

Just before 10 p.m., Citrus County deputies responded to the Dollar General at 3042 S. Florida Ave. in Inverness, the CCSO said.

Deputies were told that the suspect entered the store wearing a black mask and demanded the clerk to give him money, the Sheriff’s Office said. When the clerk told him no, the suspect took off his mask, walked out and said it was a joke.

The suspect left on foot. No money was obtained,,and no weapon was ever brandished.

The suspect is decribed as a white male, 17 to18 years old, five-feet-11-inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds. He has brown hair and was wearing a dark grey or black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans with tennis shoes.

If you have any information, please call 9-1-1 and ask for the Major Crimes Division.

If you would like to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward – call Citrus County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-ANY-TIPS.

UPDATE: Deputies arrest suspect in Inverness Dollar Store ‘robbery’

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced that the suspect in the attempted robbery of the Inverness Dollar Store has been arrested.

He has been identified as 18-year-old Austin Moser of Inverness, whom deputies said made a full confession.

 

‘Operation Oxy-Clean’ nets five arrests

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office cleaned up several streets in the Citrus County community early in the morning hours on April 20, 2018 during OPERATION OXY-CLEAN.
FROM LEFT: Louis Pepe, Susan Pepe, both of Floral City; Shawn Carpenter of Hernando; Steven Minnella and Glenn Wilson, both of Inverness. (PHOTOS: Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on April 20, 2018). CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE LARGER IMAGES.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office cleaned up several streets in the Citrus County community early Friday morning during OPERATION OXY-CLEAN.

Search and arrest warrants were served targeting oxycodone dealers at residences in Floral City, Hernando, and Inverness. The Sheriff’s Office’s Tactical Impact Unit concluded the operation today, netting five arrests.

Simultaneous search warrants were served at two locations resulting in arrests for selling prescription medication during undercover investigations. Detectives conducted undercover buys with the suspects throughout the last several weeks. A majority of the purchases were negotiated by telephone, resulting in more felony charges of Illegal Use of a Two-way Communication Device.

“Our multi-week investigation took dangerous drugs and drug dealers off our streets and has a significant impact on our community,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Once again, outstanding job by our Tactical Impact Unit, detectives, and patrol deputies, who have proven time and again that they will not stop until drugs are removed from this county.”

Notably, a mother and son duo, Susan Pepe, and her son, Louis Pepe, sold prescription pills on multiple occasions. Pepe and her son were arrested for the sale of a controlled substance during a search warrant of Louis Pepe’s home.

Glenn Wilson was arrested at his home during our second search warrant.

Other arrests include Steven Minnella of Inverness and Shawn Carpenter of Hernando. A search of a safe in Carpenter’s home yielded $8,000 cash.

OPERATION OXY-CLEAN yielded the following arrests:

Louis Pepe– age 31, Floral City
• 3 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)
• 3 Counts of Illegal use of a Two-way Communication Device

Susan Pepe – age 56, Floral City
• 2 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)
• 2 Counts of Illegal use of a Two-way Communication Device

Shawn Carpenter– age 46, Hernando
• 2 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)
• 2 Counts of Illegal use of a Two-way Communication Device

Glenn Wilson – age 36, Inverness
• 2 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)
• 2 Counts of Illegal use of a Two-way Communication Device

Steven Minnella – age 53, Inverness
• 2 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)

One arrested after stabbing at Inverness bar

An Inverness man was arrested on Sunday following a report of a stabbing at Coach’s Pub and Eatery in Inverness.

Alexander Luis Rivera

An Inverness was arrested on Sunday following a report of a stabbing at Coach’s Pub and Eatery in Inverness.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that, upon arriving. several witnesses told deputies that Kim McKinney, 51, of Inverness, and Alexander Rivera, 22, also of Inverness, were involved in a physical altercation.

Witnesses said that at some point during the altercation, Rivera pulled out a small pocket knife and stabbed McKinney.

Emergency medical services were rendered to McKinney, who was then transported for further treatment. When questioned, Rivera stated that he was “not the victim in this case,” despite claiming he was attacked first and that was why he pulled the knife.

Rivera was placed under arrest and charged Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon and transported to the Citrus County Detention Facility for booking and processing.

Rivera’s bond was set at $10,000 on the charges.