This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Annual crime figures are out for Florida and the good news is overall crime statewide has dropped 7.4 percent. Flagler and St. Johns counties followed that trend, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report released Monday. St. Johns saw an overall drop of 11.8 percent and in Flagler crime dropped 20.2 percent. Bucking the trend Putnam, Clay, Alachua and Nassau counties all saw an increase in crime. Both Nassau and Clay are seeing population surges. Putnam isn’t growing but crime is up by 10.2 percent. According to the state figures, Putnam saw a surge in burglaries up from 373 in 2017 to 2,388 in 2018. In several other areas including robberies and motor vehicle thefts in Putnam the number of crimes dropped.
In St. Johns County the Sheriff’s Office is seeking three suspects in the burglary of a gun shop. Top Gun Supply on State Road 16 was reported broken into Monday after three people smashed through a class door, triggering an alarm and then smashed glass display cases and loaded more than 30 firearms into duffel bags before leaving. Two of guns were semi-automatic rifles. It all took about a minute. Inventory and property damage totaled around $40,000. If you have information, contact the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers.
In Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly thinks the county has had long enough to come up with a solution for space to house the sheriff’s operations center. He sent a letter to the county commission chair noting it’s been a year since the renovated center in Bunnell was emptied after concerns over it being a sick building. Staly hasn’t been able to get the space he needs at the county courthouse and he’s seeking a permanent solution for his office.
The Grinch apparently summers in Florida. Over the weekend someone broke out a window at Lori’s Restaurant in Palatka and swiped a donation jar by the cash register. The jar was there to help raise funds for a needed lung transplant for Palatkan Karen Engle. Today’s the jar’s back in place and people are dropping off money to help Engle. If you want, drop off donations at Lori’s located at the corner of Crill and Husson avenues. If you have information on the theft, call the Palatka Police Department.
St. Augustine City Commission is moving forward with a plan to allow alcoholic beverage consumption and on-street dining on a city right-of way. First reading of the ordinance passed the city commission Monday and is part of creating a multi-use section of Cuna Street between Charlotte Street and Avenida Menendez.
More than two dozen locations on Anastasia Island were hit by graffiti vandals sometime Monday evening. St. Augustine Police on Monday were sent to the St. Augustine Municipal Marina after a staff sink was found pulled out of the wall and broken. On Tuesday they were called to several locations about graffiti. In all graffiti was found at about 29 locations.
Some citizens know how to look out for others. At Crestwood Nursing Center in Palatka that’s Alfred Johnson who is known as the Sheriff of Crestwood. He looks out for the safety and security of other residents. Putnam Sheriff Gator DeLoach made it official and showed up to swear him in as a special deputy and give him a badge.