Click Here for ADA Accessible Format
Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.
PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at PIOs@polksheriff.org.
The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.
On July 23, 2020, PCSO Computer Crimes detectives arrested 36 year-old Steven Lacy DeVane of Fort Meade charging him with 3 counts using a child to engage in sex acts (F-2) and 70 counts possession of child pornography (enhanced) (F-2). The charges are enhanced because the images/videos met one of the following criteria per FSS 755.0847:
a) The offender possesses 10 or more images of any form of child pornography regardless of content; and
(b) The content of at least one image contains one or more of the following:
1. A child who is younger than the age of 5
2. Sadomasochistic abuse involving a child
3. Sexual Battery involving a child
4. Sexual bestiality involving a child
5. Any movie involving a child, regardless of length and regardless of whether the movie contains sound.
This investigation began in May of 2020 when Computer Crimes detectives were notified by the Fort Myers Police Department of a tip they received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that images/videos of child pornography were being downloaded from an address in Fort Meade. During the investigation, detectives discovered homemade images/video depicting DeVane sexually abusing children he had access to.
Detectives executed a search warrant at the home where DeVane lived. Inside a bedroom in the residence, they located items that appeared to be the same bedsheets, mirror and window coverings depicted in the homemade videos/images. They also located what appeared to be the same clothing worn by DeVane in the videos/images.
During the investigation, detectives seized a cell phone belonging to DeVane. There they located 70 images/videos depicting child pornography, with victims between the ages of 2 and 12 years-old being sexually abused.
“DeVane not only engaged in child pornography, he also committed lewd acts in the presence of a baby he had access to – and filmed it. I am grateful, that with the help of our partners at NCMEC, our detectives were able to lock him up and rescue his victims from that beyond horrific environment.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
The Department of Children and Families was notified. DeVane has been booked into the Polk County Jail and is being held on no bond until his first appearance hearing which is scheduled for tomorrow. DeVane’s criminal history includes 3 felonies and 11 misdemeanors.
The investigation is ongoing, and pending a forensic examination of his electronic devices and a screening of the children he had access to, additional charges are possible.