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.

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.   

Four Arrested for Hunting Camp Burglaries

Dakota Buncik

Fallon Buncik

Tyler Knotts

John Smith

May 2, 2019
Members of the Sand-Fly Hunting Club located on
CR 347 south of Fowler’s Bluff reported multiple burglaries and thefts to their
hunting camps. Club members reported 5 generators, an air compressor, along
with various hunting /fishing equipment and accessories had been stolen.
On April 24, 2019 Levy County Sheriff’s Office Detectives
developed leads that identified persons involved lived at 6710 SW 108th
Avenue in Cedar Key. Detectives executed a search warrant at this location and were
able to recover four generators and numerous other items identified as being
stolen from the Sand-Fly hunting club members. Detectives interviewed four
individuals and also recovered two fours wheelers unrelated to the Sand-Fly
Hunting Club thefts. The four wheelers had been taken from the Rosewood and
Bronson area of Levy County.
Detectives have arrested the four individuals responsible
who are all from the Cedar Key area;
·      
John Smith (01-26-1987),
·      
Tyler Knotts (01-22-99),
·      
Dakota Buncik (12-23-1997)
·      
Fallon Buncik (03-13-1998)
Each arrestee faces multiple charges including burglary,
grand theft, criminal mischief and possession of methamphetamine. The defendants
said they used the proceeds from the selling of stolen items to purchase
illegal narcotics. Additional charges against all four defendants are expected
to be filed in the near future.
Detectives are asking our community if you had
contact with these subjects and purchased anything from them to contact Detective
Michael Wilkinson a call at 352-486-5111 Ext 360.   The item(s) you
purchased may be stolen and the owner(s) would like it to be returned.
Detectives know they apprehended the parties responsible for these crimes and
only wish to locate property stolen from the victims in the Sand-Fly Hunting
Club so it may be returned.

Battery of School Teacher

May 1, 2019
On Friday, April 26, a 14 year old 8th grade
Chiefland Middle/High School student was arrested by LCSO School Resource
Deputy John Gulledge for battery on teacher. 
The arrest occurred after Holden Andy Meeks and his class mates were
instructed by their teacher to complete work over a twenty minute period during
a special session in the school’s library. Once their work was completed, the
teacher would allow them to have “free time.”   Meeks did not complete his work and after the
twenty minutes elapsed he wanted his free time and was told no by the teacher.
Meeks became irate with the teacher and tried to walk out of the library. The
teacher asked him where he was going and stepped in front of him as he attempted
to exit the room. Meeks began screaming at the teacher and then shoved her out
of the way and left the room. 
Meeks was located on campus by school officials and escorted
to the Dean’s office. Deputy Gulledge interviewed Meeks’ classmates and the
teacher and determined a battery of a school official had occurred.  Under Florida law, this crime is a
felony.  Meeks was arrested and transported
to the Levy County Detention Facility where he was processed and released to
his parents. Levy County School officials will conduct an expulsion hearing
later to determine if Meeks will be allowed to return to Levy County Schools.
Sheriff McCallum said that cases such as these will be
investigated by our full time School Resource Deputies and arrests will be
made. He said school faculty members and staff have a difficult job educating
our children and their duties do not include being battered. Students need to
understand that if they batter school personnel, there will be consequences and
these consequences could include being arrested.