Police briefs 11/3/22

Clay County Sheriff's Office
Posted 10/2/22

Former Putnam librarian sentenced to nearly 22 years for producing, distributing child pornJACKSONVILLE – Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Kurt Batucan Sheldon, 31, …

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Police briefs 11/3/22


Former Putnam librarian sentenced to nearly 22 years for producing, distributing child porn
JACKSONVILLE – Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Kurt Batucan Sheldon, 31, of Interlachen, to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison for the production and distribution of child sex abuse images. Sheldon was also ordered to serve a life term of supervised release and register as a sex offender. In addition, the court ordered $13,000 in restitution for the victims of Sheldon’s offenses. Sheldon, who worked with the Putnam County Library, was arrested on Sept. 4, 2020, and ordered to be detained during the proceedings in the case. He pleaded guilty on Feb. 17, 2022.
According to court documents, this case was initiated when the parents of a minor female child made a report to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office about sexually explicit messages being sent by an adult to their child on two different social media applications. The adult referred to himself as “K t,” and used the username “tacticfallout.” “K t” originally began communicating with the minor child on a social media application and represented himself as a male, between 25-and-29 years of age. The minor child told him that she was 15 years old. “K t” told the minor child that his name was “Kurt” and that he lived in Putnam. The child told “Kurt” she lived with her parents and was in school. Their conversation later moved to another social media platform, over which “K t” requested child sex abuse material – images and videos – from the minor child and directed the child on how to take the images and how to pose. Approximately 50 images and/or videos were sent to “K t” at his direction.
Further investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations identified Sheldon’s residence as the source of the IP address used by the account, “tacticfallout,” and for other associated accounts.
On Sept. 4, 2020, HSI agents and deputies and detectives from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Sheldon’s residence. Sheldon admitted there would be child sexual abuse material on his electronic devices and that he was attracted to children. He also admitted to asking girls he met via online applications, who he knew to be underage, to send him nude photographs, including a 15-year-old female. Forensic examination of his devices identified more than a thousand images and several hundred videos depicting child sex abuse.
During the same investigation, HSI also learned of a 2016 St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office investigation involving Sheldon’s IP address and residential address engaging in peer-to-peer file sharing of child sex abuse materials. Law enforcement accessed and downloaded files that contained child sex abuse materials that were later connected to Sheldon. Sheldon also admitted his involvement in this conduct.
“Men who use the anonymity of the internet to prey on the vulnerability and innocence of children are a special kind of evil,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “Through our partnerships with the Clay County, Putnam County and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Offices, we will remain vigilant in targeting these dark web predators, bringing them to justice to face their crimes.”
This case was investigated by Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.
It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Cyber Tip leads to arrest of Green Cove Springs man

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A coordinated effort by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigation led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man for child pornography.

According to a seven-page affidavit for arrest, Wesley Ryan Wager, of Green Cove Springs, is accused of two counts of possession, viewing and controlling child sexual conduct, two counts of transmitting child pornography and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.
Acting on a Cyber Tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children last November, the agencies worked to identify who was using a Kik account to store video files of child sexual abuse material.
After tracking down his IP address to a cellphone, a warrant was issued for Wager. It stated the files were viewed in four days in October 2021. Wager told investigators the cellphone was his and that “I was young and dumb back then.”
The sheriff’s office was so eager to put Wager behind bars, it made him the focus of last week’s “Fugitive Friday” on its social media pages. But unlike previous weeks, they posted the warning on Thursday. Wager turned himself in hours later.
“Every week we we get with our detectives and our warrants people,” Sheriff Michelle Cook said. “We do a rundown on some of the fugitives that are outstanding. And so when that one (Wager) came up, I'm like yeah, we need to make that one a priority.”
Cook said Wager saw the post and he walked into the jail to surrender.
He was arrested on Oct. 28. Wager’s bond was set at $250,015.

Man caught in stolen truck following three-week burglary spree

MIDDLEBURG – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said it caught up with a man suspected of a series of break-ins, including one when the suspect was armed with a rifle in a 20-day stretch.
Timothy Justin Hatcher, 36, of Middleburg, was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on May 20 and returned to Clay County to face charges of two counts of grand theft, five counts of burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of grand theft auto after he was stopped on Blanding Boulevard in a truck reported stolen a few minutes earlier.
According to eight different affidavits for an arrest warrant, Hatcher is suspected of taking things from a shed on Appaloosa Road on May 7. He then was identified as a suspect in the theft of an 18-foot trailer on Hatcher Road on May 17. A day later, a four-wheeler was stolen on Old Jennings Road.
On May 20, a homeowner caught Hatcher in her house and she managed to chase him away. He then broke into a bedroom closet that belonged to someone else at his house on Pinto Road. He was chased away, but he returned five minutes later with a rifle to complete the robbery. Also on the 20th, a woman said Hatcher broke into her garage on Logger Trail.
CCSO spotted the Hatcher’s vehicle after getting a description from at least two of the victims. He was seen “driving erratically” on Long Bay Road before he parked his truck at his house on Pinto Road. There, deputies noticed the missing trailer and they eventually found the four-wheeler under a tarp. A woman told deputies Hatcher admitted to taking the truck. Hatcher escaped in some woods by his house, and he wound up on Junction Drive where a construction truck containing more than $5,000 of equipment was taken.
Shortly afterward, JSO arrested him following a short chase. When interviewed by CCSO detectives, Hatcher admitted to stealing the trailer, according to the affidavit.
Hatcher’s next court appearance was set for Dec. 5. He is being held at the Clay County Jail with a $190,015 bond.

Knife-welding shoplifter arrested in by sheriff’s office

ORANGE PARK – A man suspected of taking three items worth $827 from The Home Depot on Wells Avenue brandished a knife at store security before driving away in a pickup truck on Aug. 4, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said.
Milton Michael Yournett, 40, of Jacksonville, was charged with grand theft and resisting while committing a felony after a security guard saw Yournett leave the store without paying for merchandise. When the guard approached Yournett in the parking lot, Yournett pulled a knife and approached the guard, according to the affidavit for arrest warrant. The store provided surveillance video of the incident.
Yournett was in the Duval County Jail when he was transported back to Clay County on Oct. 26.
Yournett’s bond was set at $65,015.

Man who left residents in the dark busted for violating probation in Clay County

ORANGE PARK – A man found guilty a year ago for child abuse is back behind bars for violating the terms of his probation – all while residents of his Blanchard Apartments in Jacksonville were left to figure out how to pay an overdue $7,428 electric bill.
Brian Roy Lozito, 53, of Orange Park, is being held without bond in Clay County, while residents an apartment building he owns has been the source of several problems.
First residents were told they had to leave after the property was condemned when it appeared fresh water and sewage were puddling at the entrance of the complex. Residents said sewage had overflowed into their sinks and bathtubs.
Residents were allowed back in their apartments after the sewage problem was fixed, but now they face more problems because JEA said Lozito hadn’t paid the electric, water or sewage bill. Since Lozito didn’t pay the bill, residents will be given 10 days to pay or face disconnection, JEA said.
Lozito originally was arrested on March 13, 2019, after he slapped a juvenile across the mouth in the Fleming Island Walmart because the boy wouldn’t stop crying. After the slap, a store employee said the child’s nose and mouth were bleeding. According to the original arrest report, the blood trail from the place of the attack to Lozito’s car was nearly 100 feet.
Lozito’s probation was revoked on Aug. 8 after the Florida Department of Corrections said he was arrested six days earlier for leaving a child alone or more than 15 minutes while he was away using illegal drugs and drinking alcohol and for failing to show documentation that he had been given a mental health evaluation. The state said a drug screen tested positive for both drugs and alcohol.

Tractor-trailer with sod overturns at intersection of U.S. 17 and S.R. 16

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Traffic was tied up for three hours while Clay County Fire Rescue and the Green Cove Springs Police Department tried to clean up a tractor-trailer loaded with sod turned on its side in the middle of U.S. Highway 17 and State Road 16 Monday afternoon.
Traffic was limited to one lane each way while the crew worked to extract the driver.