Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Jealous Much?

May 22, 2019

Levy County Sheriff’s Office Detective Justin Douglas was returning to the office Friday afternoon May 17th and noticed a fire in the parking lot at Weeks Marathon gas station in Bronson. He turned his unmarked patrol vehicle into the parking area and saw a Harley Davidson motorcycle fully engulfed in flames. He and the store clerk attacked the blaze with fire extinguishers and were able to put the fire out.

Detective Douglas was then approached in the parking lot by a female. She offered information that she knew how the fire started and told Detective Douglas she saw David Knutson pour something on the motorcycle and ignite it. She also said she saw Knutson walk away from the scene toward the rear of the gas station. 

Detective Douglas began his investigation and discovered the clerk from the Marathon station and Knutson were involved in a dispute over a woman. Knutson was the jilted lover and in his efforts to set the record straight, he set the clerk’s Harley on fire. 

Knutson was located in his vehicle a short distance from the scene by Detective Justin Vanduren. He smelled strongly of gasoline during his arrest. Knutson must not have been aware of the security video that recorded him pouring a flammable liquid on the motorcycle prior to lighting it, nor did he know this same video captured his images as he attempted to hide evidence by throwing the container he had full of gas into a nearby dumpster.

David Leroy Knutson 5/12/1956 of Bronson was booked into the Levy County Detention Facility and is being held on a $50,000.00 bond for 2nd Degree Arson. The motorcycle in this case was damaged in spite of Detective Douglas and the owner’s quick efforts.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Williston Man Arrested on Sex Offenses Against Minors

May 6, 2019

On Saturday, May 4, 2019 Levy County Detective C.J. Perryman responded to a home in Williston to a report of sexual misconduct. Detective Perryman met with the mother of two children who are under 12 years old who reported that her children said they had been sexually abused by Kyle Raudis (2-26-96). 

Detective Perryman spoke to both of the children who described the sexual abuse. Detective Perryman also located and spoke to Raudis. Raudis made several contradictory statements then later admitted he had been sexually inappropriate in the presence of the children. 

Raudis was arrested and charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of lewd or lascivious exhibition. He was booked in at the Levy County Detention Facility where he is being held in lieu of a $2.5 million dollar bond.

Chiefland Woman Arrested for Stabbing Husband

May 6, 2019

On April 29, 2019 Levy County Deputies responded to a home located at 6250 NW 20 Street south of Chiefland after receiving a call from a male who said he was involved in a domestic dispute. A second 911 call was made by a third party reporting she located a bloody female walking down a road. The caller said this female told her she and her husband had been in a fight.

Deputies arrived to find the husband was suffering from a stab wound to his abdomen. The female, identified as Ashley Kasco (11-10-85), was also injured. She had a laceration to her scalp and told deputies she had been struck by her husband with a metal pipe. Both parties were transported to a local medical facility to receive treatment.

On Friday, May 3, 2019 LCSO Detectives arrested Ashley Kasco for aggravated domestic battery when the investigation determined she was the primary aggressor in the domestic dispute. She was book in at the Levy County Detention Facility where she is being held in lieu of a $50,000.00 bond.  

Dunnellon Man Arrested for Molestation

May 6, 2019

Levy County Sheriff’s Office Detectives and the Florida Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) worked together and their investigation led to the arrest of a man for molesting a child.  A report filed to the DCF Abuse Hotline launched the investigation. A forensic interview with the child provided information that Evan Barkley (11-13-43) was responsible for lewd and lascivious molestation of the child who is under 12 years old. 

Detectives located and interviewed Barkley on Friday, May 3, 2019 at his home located in South Levy County. Detective Justin Douglas arrested Barkley at the conclusion of this interview. Barkley was book in at the Levy County Detention Facility where he is being held in lieu of a $100,000.00 bond.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Crimes of Opportunity

May 2, 2019

Multiple vehicle burglaries and thefts were reported during the week of April 22 to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and the Williston Police Department. Deputies were scrambling to identify the suspect and an alert citizen who is also a victim provided the lead needed.

Deputy Matt Davis responded to the convenience store across from the Bronson Racetrack on April 29th to take a theft report from yet another victim. After which he viewed the store’s surveillance video which captured the suspect in the act. This video was used to make a positive identification of the suspect vehicle, but the thief could not be positively identified. 

The following day Deputy Davis located the suspect vehicle on US Hwy 27 in Bronson. He activated his emergency equipment signaling the driver to pull over. The driver did stop in the parking lot of Drummond Community Bank, but as Deputy Davis exited his vehicle, the driver sped away. A short car chase ensued and after a few turns by the suspect in his attempt to elude Deputy Davis, he abandoned his car and fled on foot. He was located a short distance away from his car and apprehended by Deputy Davis.

The fleeing driver and burglary suspect was identified as Faron Dwayne Brannen (1-16-60) of Bronson. Deputy Davis’ investigation revealed Brannen was homeless and living in the suspect vehicle. Brannen is also reported to be addicted to illegal narcotics, and it is presumed he committed crimes of opportunity by burglarizing unlocked vehicles looking for valuables to support his drug habit. 

As seen in this video, this was a true crime of opportunity. Brannen did not use any cunning or even work hard to enter the vehicle. Every other report taken by both the Sheriff’s Office and the Williston Police Department were burglaries to unlocked vehicles and thefts which were committed without much effort. This case should be a reminder to all…. Lock YOUR CAR, take your valuables inside and protect your hard earned property, no matter where you are.

This is an on-going investigation and stolen property is still being found by citizens. Stolen items, which were obviously discarded, have been found in various areas of Levy County between Bronson and Williston. The Levy County Sheriff’s Office is asking our citizens to report any found property to our office by calling 352-486-5111.       

Morriston Man Arrested for Theft of Lawn Mower/Trailers

May 2, 2019

Rodney Morris (9-9-82) of Morriston was arrested by members of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division after receiving a tip. On Thursday, April 25, 2019 a neighbor of Morris’ reported to Levy County Deputies that his Cub Cadet 48” riding lawn mower was stolen from underneath his attached parking garage. He parked it there during the early afternoon before having to go to a doctor’s appointment. He discovered it was missing when he returned home. 

Detectives received a tip that the mower had been sold to a subject in Chiefland and they contacted this person. Through their investigation, Detectives recovered the stolen lawn mower and three small trailers. Detectives learned Morris brokered the sale and the buyer contacted him at his home in Morriston to pick up the mower. 

Morris was located at his home late Friday afternoon by LCSO Detectives. Detectives saw 11 marijuana plants growing in a garden area while there speaking to him and his girlfriend. Morris was arrested and has been charged with burglary, grand theft and cultivation of marijuana. He is currently being held in the Levy County Detention Facility on a $70,000.00 bond.

Detectives are seeking the public’s help in this case. The three small lawn style utility trailers Detectives recovered during this investigation that cannot be identified to a specific owner. These trailers are known to be stolen and one trailer (pictured above) is unique. This trailer is a tilt style trailer, which has been painted black. The trailer was previously red. Detectives are asking Levy County citizens who live in the Morriston area, specifically on CR 337 and/or CR 326 and own a small trailer, to check and see if it is still on your property. If you are missing your trailer contact Detective Mike McNeil at 352-486-5111 ext. 266. He will need a detailed description and proof of ownership prior to releasing any items recovered during this investigation. Additional charges are anticipated to be filed in this case.