The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is taking part in this event.
Pick up locations are at the following Walgreens: Davis Highway & Olive Road, Mobile Highway & Saufley Field Road, Fairfield Drive & Beverly Parkway, Palafox Street.
WIlliam Billy Boyette is wanted for the Friday morning murder of Peggy Broz in Lillian, Alabama and is now a suspect in the murders of Alicia Greer and Jacqueline Moore in Santa Rosa County on Tuesday. He is to be considered ARMED & DANGEROUS and may be in Escambia County . Rewards totaling $21,000.00 are offered for information leading to his capture. If you see him or his possible companion Mary Rice call the ECSO at 436-9620 or CrimeStoppers at 433-STOP. (7867)
Police are searching for more victims who may have had their personal images shared on sexual dating websites without their knowledge in a complicated aggravated cyberstalking case.
Fifteen victims already have been identified, leading to the arrest of Pensacolian Sean Michael Vest, 31, on 15 counts of aggravated stalking and cyberstalking.
In a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon, Assistant State Attorney John Molchan and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office revealed few specific details about the case against Vest, but did say due to its unique nature it could be one that eventually changes legislation.
Vest is accused of sending harassing text messages and voice calls to a number of women over a period of time between December and his arrest Jan. 20. He also is accused of collecting photographs of victims, including children, from social media sites and selling those images to sexual websites, according to Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.
It is alleged that Vest used a number of devices and platforms, including private internet browsers, to collect and distribute the images, which makes the case more difficult to prosecute.
Escambia County Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said the department expects more victims to come forward in light of Vest’s arrest.
“One victim is too many, but when the investigators started looking at it, they saw victim after victim after victim,” he said.
While there is no evidence the cyberstalking ever became physical in nature, primary investigator Amber Bernard said that a number of the victims were connections that stemmed from Pensacola Catholic High School, specifically the Class of 2004. Bernard said the other victims may have been found through association with those victims.
“It ranges from people’s mothers and grandmothers in their 60s, to we have some 12-year-old victims,” Bernard said.
“We’ve had phone calls even since he was arrested Friday.”
Molchan said aggravated cyberstalking is a relatively new charge, which means it will be a challenge to prosecute the case against Vest.
“This is one of those areas of the law where the law has not caught up with the technology that it out there, and certainly it will be a challenge for us in putting this case together,” Molchan said.
Molchan said this case likely will force an adjustment in law as law enforcement and prosecutors address the case’s complexities.
Though authorities wouldn’t discuss specifics as far as the nature of the images and their use, they did say “hateful speech” was involved, as well as threatening text.
“If you post pictures of yourself and your children, we sadly live in a world today that there are no protections from you not ending up a victim of an internet-based crime,” Morgan said.
“While in your own lives you’re doing something very innocent, you’re sharing with your high school class page from 1960 … along comes someone who takes those images of both you and your children and sells them to a sex website.”
The 15 counts, which are third-degree felonies, could carry a penalty of up to 75 years in prison, Molchan said.
Vest is currently housed at the Escambia County Jail in lieu of a $375,000 bond. His first court appearance is Feb. 10.
Anyone who is a victim of these crimes is encouraged to contact ECSO.
Santa’s helpers still wear green, but they were packing a little extra hardware this year.
On Friday afternoon, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office hosted its annual “Shop with a Cop” event at the Wal-Mart on U.S. 29 in Pensacola. Deputies escorted 63 area underserved children through the store as the kids bought Christmas gifts for themselves and their families.
Six-year-old Amiyah was on the hunt for Barbie makeup, a “Frozen” dress and new shoes.
Gabriel, 12, was shopping for a bike, new clothes and some action figures.
Each child participating in the event was provided a $200 gift card and encouraged to shop not just for themselves, but for their parents and siblings. The children came from difficult home situations and were hand-picked for the program by the Escambia County School District to ensure they enjoyed a Merry Christmas.
Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies and select students shop for Christmas gifts at Wal Mart on Hwy 29 Friday afternoon. The annual “Shop with a Cop” event gives the selected student to but Christmas gifts for themselves or loved one.
The Sheriff’s Office has been hosting the event for the past four years, and Shop with a Cop is funded through seized drug money and support from community sponsors.
Cmdr. Dale Tharp, who organizes the event each year with help from Captain Robby Martin and Lt. Ken Simmons, said the event is one of the most rewarding things he has done in his 35-year-law enforcement career. He added that he typically has to turn away deputies hoping to volunteer, and that the program helps form bonds between children and law enforcement.
“You hear so many negative things in the media,” Tharp said. “This is just a way to remind them, we’re the good guys.
Each year, the Sheriff’s Office has increased the scope of the event to include more children and give them larger amounts to spend. Wal-Mart has partnered with the ECSO on the event for the past three years, and after the shopping, the store provided the kids with a free meal.
Simmons stressed Shop with a Cop wouldn’t be possible without the help of all the businesses, individuals and deputies who pitched in, and said there was no way to put a price on the joy and excitement the kids take away from the event.
“We try to reach as many kids as we can with it,” Simmons said. “The deputies meet the kids and the families beforehand and form a bond. We want them to know they’re not just their officer for the event, they’re their officer for life.”
Children laughed, joked and meandered through the aisles Friday, leading eager deputies who helped fill their shopping carts with LEGO sets, tablets, board games and other goodies.
Sgt. David Brown, who was escorting Gabriel, described it as an awesome experience.
“Of all the things we get to do in life, not only as an agency but as individuals, this is the greatest thing you can do,” Brown said.read more