Convicted Serial Burglar Confesses to More Break-in’s

 

November 4, 2019

Some may remember the picture we posted in March of this year that was captured on the surveillance system installed in Ryan Bell’s new business location on NW 140 Street, the old Deke’s Restaurant. This local business owner made a simple decision to safeguard his own property and installed a state of the art video surveillance system. His photographs flooded local social media and with our citizen’s help, it led to the arrest of Harold William Santry, Jr (8-19-64) of Chiefland.

As a result of Santry’s arrest, the LCSO Criminal Investigations Division was able to secure and serve a search warrant on Santry’s home back in March, which allowed the recovery of a trailer full of stolen property. Detectives knew this wasn’t the full scope of crimes Santry committed and continued to work on this investigation. Months of investigative work combined with cooperative agreements forged between the LCSO, the State Attorney’s Office and Santry’s own defense attorney led to more victims having some of their stolen property returned.

 

William Santry agreed to a negotiated plea offer to a prison term. A condition of this plea offer was a proffer, or cooperative agreement to assist law enforcement to solve previously unsolved crimes for which he was responsible. Santry went with Detectives to his home and identified another trailer load of property as things he himself had stolen. Over the past 10 years, William Santry perfected his craft and was able to elude detection until photographed by Mr. Bell’s surveillance cameras. Santry did not steal to support a drug habit or to make a profit on his ill-gotten gains. He did it specifically for the thrill.

 

Detectives worked with Santry for several days before his departure to State Prison. Santry identified property from at least 30 different residential burglaries and thefts which will allow Detectives to return items to their rightful owners. Detectives commented that Santy’s ability to recall what he had stolen and from which homes was astonishing, but they are grateful he was able to do this.

 

Sheriff McCallum said he is proud of the determination of our Detectives in resolving this case. Closure is most often what victims wish for and this case will give them just that. The hard work of the Detectives and cooperation between the judicial counterparts combined with our community’s willingness to offer tips and other information led to this successful conclusion.

 

Inglis Man Arrested While Out on Bond

October 30, 2019

Trent A. Vaughn (5/18/95) has a history with the LCSO. In January of this year he was arrested by the LCSO Detective Mike McNeil for a burglary at Young Boats in Inglis. He was released on an ROR Bond. While out on bond he was arrested by Deputy Nelson Macias of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office on October 13, 2019 for driving on a suspended license during a targeted traffic enforcement effort in Inglis. Vaughn was operating an unregistered motorcycle at the time he was stopped. He posted his bond and went home to Inglis the following day. However, his freedom was short lived.

On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 Deputy Ryan Sullivan, who also participated in the October 13th traffic enforcement effort, responded to a property located on Butler Road. Deputy Sullivan spoke to the property owner on the phone who told him the caretaker of the property said their gold Honda CRV Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) they left at this summer home was missing. When Deputy Sullivan arrived at the home he had to jump a locked gate to get onto the property. Deputy Sullivan saw Trent Vaughn, whom he knew from his arrest on the 13th, attempting to attach a trailer to a Honda SUV. Deputy Sullivan had surprised Vaughn and when he told Vaughn to stop, Vaughn jumped into the stolen SUV and crashed through the gate fleeing from him. Vaughn was able to evade Deputy Sullivan until yesterday.

Deputy Mike Sinclair was patrolling in the area of Butler Road in Inglis when he saw Vaughn behind a home on Butler Road. Deputy Sinclair knew Vaughn was being sought by Deputies Sullivan and Macias, whose intent was to arrest him for stealing the SUV. Upon sight of Deputy Sinclair, Vaughn fled on foot into a wooded area. Deputy Sinclair gave chase and was able to apprehend Vaughn a short distance away.

When Vaughn was apprehended he was wearing a backpack that was full of suspected stolen property. He also had gloves, a lock pick set and other burglary tools in his pockets. Deputy Sinclair, aided by Deputy Macias, inventoried the backpack and the contents of Vaughn’s pockets and identified the owner of some of these stolen items. In a follow up interview with these deputies, Vaughn confessed to several burglaries in the Butler Road area of Inglis. These deputies also discovered the motorcycle Vaughn was riding during his arrest on the 13th was also stolen.

Vaughn was booked into the Levy County Detention Facility and charged with multiple counts of burglary and grand theft in addition to other charges. Vaughn was assigned a bond of $226,000.00.

This investigation is still on-going. The Honda CRV has not been recovered and it is suspected it has been hidden somewhere in the Inglis area. Vaughn is suspect in additional burglaries and thefts in the Inglis area and additional charges could be filed at a later date. Anyone with information about the location of the stolen gold Honda CRV or has information about recent unsolved burglaries is asked to call Detective Mike McNeil at 352-486-5111.

Wrong Tag Leads to Drug Arrest

October 8, 2019

Levy County Deputy Blake Murphy was on patrol in the Bronson area on October 3, 2019 and noticed a suspicious vehicle. He requested a check of the tag and discovered the tag attached to the suspicious vehicle was a cancelled tag. He then stopped the car and spoke to the driver.

The driver, Melissa Ellis (12/13/80) of Gainesville did not have a valid driver’s license. In-fact her license was suspended and she told Deputy Murphy she knew the tag was not assigned to this vehicle. Ellis was arrested and placed in the backseat of his patrol car.

Deputy Murphy spoke to the three passengers still in the vehicle. During this conversation Deputy Murphy located a pink lunchbox that contained several different types of illegal narcotics. The passengers told Deputy Murphy the lunchbox belonged to Ellis. Inside the lunchbox was MDMA, heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana along with loaded syringes filled with methamphetamines and pipes used to smoke these various types of drugs. The front seat passenger, Jon Secreto (8/3/79) was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia and he too was arrested.

Ellis was charged with multiple counts of possession of illegal drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license and attaching a tag not assigned to a vehicle. Her bond was set at $475,000.000 and she is still in custody. Secreto was assigned a $2,500 bond for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Deputy Stabbed Responding to Domestic Dispute

October 2, 2019

Levy County Deputies responded to a home in Williston shortly after midnight this morning to a report of a domestic dispute between siblings. The complainant reported 19 year old Daniel Gelormino of Williston destroyed the interior of the home, burned clothing in the yard and broke all the windows in the home.

Deputies arrived and found Gelormino passed out and unresponsive in the complainant’s car that was parked in the driveway. Deputies attempted to wake Gelormino but were unable to. EMS was summoned to the scene to evaluate Gelormino and while waiting for their arrival, Gelormino regained consciousness. He immediately became combative with deputies who attempted several times to keep him calm and seated in the car until he could be medically evaluated.

Gelormino shoved one deputy who was attempting to calm him. Gelormino then pulled a steak knife from his pocket and attacked the deputy, stabbing him in the forearm. The deputies were able to disarm Gelormino and handcuff him before he was able to use the knife to cause other injuries to these deputies. Thankfully our deputy was able to protect himself and the stab wound was minor and not life threatening. This deputy was treated on scene by EMS.

Gelormino was evaluated by EMS prior to being transported to the Levy County Detention Facility. He has been charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. Gelormino was not present at first appearance this morning because his behavior at the detention facility prevented Detention Officers from processing him. He will have his first appearance tomorrow and a bond will be assigned by a judge then.

Sheriff McCallum said, “I am very thankful our Deputy was not seriously injured but this is an example of the dangers our personnel face each and every day. We respond to many physical and domestic disturbance calls every day and the inherent danger is always there. I am very proud of the men and women of this office that serve our citizens with professionalism and compassion every day. The professionalism of these two Deputies involved in this call for assistance resulted in the victims and defendant being protected from injury even after our Deputy was not so fortunate!”

The Courage of Children

September 5, 2019

Child abuse in any form is one of the worst things a child should have to endure. Especially when that abuse is at the hand of someone the child knows or respects. Children talk daily with adults and are sometimes just dismissed. But, in this case a “teacher” listened and encouraged the child to say something.  This is a case where a child was horribly sexually abused and it took every ounce of courage she could muster to end her own abuse.

Detectives responded with investigators from the Department of Children and Family Services after a call to the ABUSE hotline was received. Detectives spoke to a child who described multiple forms of sexual abuse perpetrated by John E. Biles (2/23/84) of Morriston. Detectives listened to hours of testimony this child gave and through this developed cause to arrest Biles.

Biles has been booked into the Levy County Detention Facility and charged with three counts of capital sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious battery on a child. His bond was set at $2.5 million dollars. But this did not end the investigation.

Based on the testimony of this child Detectives seized Biles’ phone that the child said Biles used to record her abuse. Detectives discovered Biles did have images from this abuse on his phone. Other electronic items are still being examined and additional charges will be filed when this investigation is completed.

Sheriff McCallum said, “this is another horrible crime of abuse committed against an innocent, vulnerable child victim. Our prayers are certainly with this child and I am so thankful for her bravery in speaking out and reporting this to her teacher, someone she truly trusted.

This case is another example of the system working together to stop the abuse for this victim. I especially applaud and commend the teacher for having a relationship of trust with this child that initiated this investigation. From the teacher to the DCF investigator to the Child Protection Team at UF and my Detectives, I offer my commendations for a job well done and for the arrest bringing this perpetrator to justice and ending this cycle of abuse on this child.”