Date: September 19, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Michal Shanley, 863 534-6631 or 819-0397 pager

Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856, Pager

PCSO Detectives Nab 3 Robbery Suspects in One Week, All Profiled By Crimestoppers

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office recently added 3 wanted criminals to their jail population thanks to tips called in to  the Polk County Crimestoppers hotline and the hard work of detectives in the Fugitive Warrants and Robbery Units.

On Friday, September 13, 2002, the Warrants Unit received information on the whereabouts of Lorenzo Cason, DOB 8/8/75, who was profiled in a Crimestoppers bulletin this past July.  Cason was wanted for the July 24th robberies of the McDonald’s restaurant located at US Hwy 98 & South Crystal Lake Drive, and the Chick-Fil-A restaurant on South Florida Avenue.  He has been charged with Burglary with Battery, Robbery, Armed Robbery, and Probation Violation for his involvement in both of the robberies, and is currently being held without bond.  Cason’s arrest by the Warrants detectives was the first of three high-profile arrests within one week. 

David Earl Melvin, DOB 9/29/78, an escaped convict from N.C. State Prison also wanted for crimes committed in Polk County, was profiled in a Crimestoppers bulletin on September 13, 2002.  Melvin was apprehended 5 days later, on Wednesday, September 18, 2002.  Melvin was found hiding under a kitchen sink at 537 Peak Drive in Haines City by Polk County Sheriff’s Warrants detectives, who were tipped to that location.  (Incidentally, 2 other subjects with active warrants were also arrested at that location, Frederick Taylor, DOB 01/13/69, and Kim Wilson, DOB 08/28/65.)  After a large-scale investigation, Robbery detectives have determined Melvin was an active participant in the Marathon Food Mart robbery in November 2001; the First Union National bank robbery last month; and the Howard Johnson Inn robbery at 33224 U.S. Hwy 27 N in Davenport on August 4, 2002.  He is being held without bond and to date has been charged with Felony Escape - Fugitive from Justice,  counts of Armed Robbery, and 2 counts of Battery.  Further charges are pending, as he may be a suspect in the robbery of the Howard Johnson Inn at 1300 3rd St SW on August 11, 2002, a Winter Haven P.D. case.

Stacey Sawyer, DOB 7/11/82, the suspect wanted in the aforementioned First Union National bank robbery that occurred on August 12, 2002 (see Crimestoppers bulletin dated August 12), was positively identified and arrested a short time later, on September 18, 2002, by Robbery detectives who were working the case.  Sawyer’s arrest also cleared 2 cases for Winter Haven P.D.— the robberies of the Howard Johnson Inn at 1300 3rd St SW on August 11, 2002; and the GTE Federal Credit Union at 2791 Lake Alfred Road on September 12, 2002.  So far, he has been charged with 2 counts of Armed Robbery of a Bank, and is being held without bond.

Sawyer and Melvin have worked together, and with another accomplice, David Burks, DOB 7/20/81, on several robberies.  Please see the Crimestoppers bulletin seeking information on the whereabouts of David Burks posted on website www.polksheriff.org.

The Polk County Crimestoppers program is a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies in finding the whereabouts of known suspects and gathering information on unsolved crimes.  Callers to the Crimestoppers hotline, 1-800-226-TIPS, can remain anonymous and earn a cash reward.  Widespread coverage and publication of Crimestoppers bulletins by media organizations is encouraged and appreciated, as it is a crucial element in the success of the program.

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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