Monday, August 19, 2019

Levy County Flood Event

August 19, 2019

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office worked diligently over the weekend to ensure the safety of our community members. Several residents in the Gulf Hammock, Rosewood and Yankeetown area were unable to leave their homes after flood waters covered roads making them impassable. 

The LCSO Marine Unit and Deputies utilized our airboat to access several homes in the Gulf Hammock area and helped residents to higher ground. Some residents elected to stay but needed supplies such as fresh drinking water. 

The Levy County Emergency Management Office worked constantly with the LCSO and many of our county departments over this past weekend to maintain closed road postings and checking on residents. Many roads are still closed to traffic. The most up-to-date road closure notifications can be found on the Levy County Emergency Management website at Please report damages to your home or business to 352-486-5155 or online at

The Cedar Key School is closed today, but the rest of the county schools are open. Levy County School District does have a modified school bus route schedule in place. This information can be found on their website at

Sink holes and washed out roads will be just a few of the many hazards our county will face as these flood waters recede. Information about the dangers of flooded wells has been provided by the Levy County Department of Health. That information can be found at

Please use caution when traveling and do not drive into flooded areas.  

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Wanted Wisconsin Fugitive Apprehended

August 15, 2019

Lorenzo Bernabe-Lucas 5/19/90 of Racine County, Wisconsin, who has been a wanted fugitive and on the run since April of 2018, was arrested last night in Williston. Bernabe- Lucas fled from Wisconsin after a warrant for his arrest was issued for 1st Degree Child Sexual Assault. The United States Marshal’s Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force-Milwaukee developed a lead on the possible whereabouts of Bernabe-Lucas in the Williston area.  This lead was communicated to the U.S. Marshal’s Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force for assignment and follow up.

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force Detective Rob Bowers, who has a special assignment to the U. S. Marshal’s Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, was asked to conduct this local investigation. Detective Bowers conducted surveillance for over a week and communicated his investigative findings to both the local and Wisconsin task force members. Detective Bowers learned that Bernabe-Lucas was living and working locally in Levy County.   Detective Bowers also learned Bernabe-Lucas frequently car pooled with others from his place of employment.
Detective Bowers requested the assistance of the LCSO Tactical Response Unit (TRU), agents with the U. S. Marshal’s Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force and agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on the afternoon of August 13, 2019 to take Bernabe-Lucas into custody. These law enforcement agencies worked together and arrested Bernabe-Lucas after a traffic stop of the car pool vehicle. Members of the LCSO TRU team boxed the truck in at the intersection of NE 200 Avenue and NE 30 Street where Bernabe-Lucas surrendered to law enforcement without resistance.

Bernabe-Lucas was taken to the Levy County Detention Bureau where he will be held on a $75,000 bond until he can be transferred to authorities in Wisconsin.      

Monday, August 12, 2019

Homicide Investigation

August 12, 2019

At 7:53 PM on August 11, 2019 Levy County Deputies responded to CR 464 in the south eastern area of Levy County. A 911 caller reported finding the body of an unidentified male on the side of the road. Deputies arrived and immediately secured the area as a crime scene. Levy County Detectives and Crime Scene was dispatched to the scene and assumed the investigation.

Detectives learned the identity of the person as Jafet Padin Rodriguez 9/14/85 of Ocala. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to a suspicious incident earlier and was attempting to locate Rodriguez to check his well being. When they were not able to locate him a BOLO (Be On The Lookout) was issued. This BOLO aided in identifying Rodriguez. Levy County Detectives determined that Rodriguez suffered a single gunshot wound which ended his life.

Levy County Detectives are asking our community and the community of Marion County for assistance. This investigation has determined Rodriguez left his home on Saturday evening to go clubbing in the Ocala area. He never returned home. Anyone who saw Rodriguez in or nearby any nightclubs in Ocala and has information that could assist this investigation is asked to call Detective Mike McNeil at 352-486-5111. If you have information and wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-877-349-8477. 

Convenience Store Robbery Arrest

August 12, 2019

On Sunday afternoon August 11, 2019 at approximately 3:06 PM the Levy County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center received a call from the clerk at the Citgo Stop-N-Go convenience store located at 8731 NW 174 Street in Fanning Springs. The clerk reported robbery that just occurred. The store clerk told 911 operators that a man who was armed with a knife threatened him then stole an undisclosed amount of cash and merchandise before he fled on foot out of the back door of the store.

Deputies arrived minutes later and obtained a statement from the clerk. The clerk told deputies that the person they were looking for had multiple tattoos and was wearing a pink tank top with black shorts. Deputies were also told this man had stolen beer, cigarettes and the cash from the register before he ran out of the back door of the store in the general direction of NW 90 Court. Deputies were able to cordon off this area and located a person matching this description.

The suspect was identified by deputies as Wayne Denver Bailey (2/13/77).  Bailey was later identified by the store clerk as the person who robbed him. Bailey was arrested and transported to jail. The Florida Department of Corrections released Bailey on 3/28/19 after serving an 18 year prison sentence for carjacking. Bailey’s last listed address was Gainesville.

Bailey is currently being held at the Levy County Detention Facility. He was charged with robbery with a weapon, aggravated assault with a weapon and theft. He is being held in lieu of a $275,000.00 bond.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Education the Hard Way

August 1, 2019

On July 25, 2019 Levy County Deputies responded to two reported crimes in the Inglis/Yankeetown area of our county. Deputies began their investigation into the theft of a four wheeler stolen which was stolen from a property located on Suzanne Street in Inglis. A second investigation was opened shortly after when our deputies were called to the Yankeetown School. School staff members discovered someone entered the school and stole a golf cart, its charger, an air compressor and other tools. Deputies noticed four wheeler tire tracks were at this crime scene. Deputies located the stolen golf cart late the same afternoon hidden in a wooded area near the school.

A break in this case came yesterday when a concerned citizen contacted detectives and told them he saw Matthew McDonald (12-23-94) of Inglis driving a golf cart that matched the description of the one reported stolen from the school. 

Detectives located McDonald at his home and while talking with him saw other items similar to those reported stolen by the school. Detectives recovered the tools which were later returned to the school. McDonald ultimately confessed to breaking into the school but denied any responsibility for stealing the four wheeler. McDonald was arrested and in the process of being transported to our jail by Deputy Macias, the stolen four wheeler was spotted being driven along the side of the road. Deputy Macias stopped the person driving the four wheeler and identified a 13 year old boy as the driver. 

Detectives respond to the stop location and interview this juvenile. The juvenile, identified as John Walker of Inglis told detectives he stole the four wheeler himself and was also arrested.
Both subjects were booked into the Levy County Detention Facility. McDonald was charged with burglary and grand theft and is being held in lieu of a $110,000.00 bond. Walker was processed and released to the custody of his mother.