The Bartow Police Department, working in partnership with Wackenhut Security and Polk County Sheriff’s bailiffs, arrested an Auburndale woman yesterday, Tuesday, November 26, 2007, after the security scanner at the north entrance to the Polk County Courthouse revealed she had a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun and loaded magazine in her purse.
Betty J. Wells, DOB 3/6/58, of 46 Tower Manor Drive in Auburndale, was due to appear in court that day at a domestic violence violation of injunction hearing, where she is the petitioner. When Wackenhut security officer James Avery saw the firearm in her purse as it went through the X-ray scanner, he contacted PCSO bailiffs, who in turn secured the firearm and called the Bartow Police Department. BPD placed Wells under arrest without incident, and charged her with Carrying a Concealed Firearm. She advised courthouse security that she carries the gun for protection and did not realize it was in her purse.
Wells does not have a license to carry a concealed firearm. The gun was not loaded but there were 5 rounds of ammunition in the magazine within her purse. Wells was booked into the Polk County Jail and posted $1000 bond to be released the same day.
“I am proud of the professional courthouse security and the partnerships between agencies here in Polk County that, as you can see, helped avoid what could have been a violent event, “ said Sheriff Grady Judd. “You can’t put a price on the safety of the more than 25,000 people each week who conduct business within our courthouse.”