Deputy David Brown, who works out of the Bravo District office of the Lee County Sheriff's Office in Lehigh Acres, was honored for his excellent police work that resulted in the arrest of several suspects who had burglarized a church on Lee Boulevard.
Capt. John Haberman, commander of Bravo District, told members of the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, Brown had been sent to St. Raphael's Catholic Church at 2514 Lee Blvd. on May 25 because of an unoccupied burglary and criminal mischief within the church.
Deputies said they met with the church spokesman victim, Kenneth Hipp, who told them that between 8 p.m. on May 25 and 2:10 p.m. on May 26, someone or persons had sprayed painted the letters "JC" using white in color, on a 2000 Cadillac. The vehicle had been donated to the church and had been parked in the parking lot.
Haberman said there was an estimated $1,500 in damage to the vehicle. He said "JC" was painted on the driver's side door and on the top of the trunk lid. The representative of the church also found that suspects had entered the unlocked lady's restroom after hours, at the rectory.
Haberman said suspects spray painted graffiti on the rest room walls and doors, causing an additional estimated $500 in damages.
He went on to say that based on the nature of the incident Detective Smith was put on the case to investigate. He requested the assistance of the Lee County Sheriff's Office Video Production Unit to the site of the incident to recover any possible security video.
Joseph Heuglin, a video specialist with the Sheriff's Office, was able to recover video surveillance and create still photographs from the tape. Smith sent the photographs to The Lehigh Acres City and other newspapers as well as Bravo district deputies for assistance with identifying them.
Then on June 5, while Deputy David Brown was on patrol in the area of the original offense, he spotted three males who matched the description of the suspects in the disseminated emails. Upon contact with these males, one of them had a can of neon green spray paint in his pocket. This was the same color spray paint used during the offense at the church.
Brown then read each suspect his Miranda rights and each acknowledged their rights and agreed to continue to speak to Brown. Haberman said the suspects acknowledged their involvement with the incident at the church.
So based on the information that was obtained during the investigation, Haberman said deputies found probably cause to charge three suspects with burglary of a structure and criminal mischief of more than $1,000 in damages.
Haberman said the three were found in the area of the church and may have been planning a similar offense.
Also on hand for the ceremony at The Hut restaurant on Gunnery Rd., just outside Lehigh, was Lt. Tim Short, the assistant commander and Sgt. Walter Ryan, a deputy supervisor.