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News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

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

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

Dec 1, 2021

Lakeland man arrested after exposing himself at local McDonald's

Media Contact: Carrie Horstman, Administrator

On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, PCSO deputies arrested 34-year-old Charlie Lee Cook, Jr., of Lakeland and charged him with indecent exposure (M1) and committing a lewd act (M2) for exposing himself to a juvenile McDonald's drive-thru cashier. 

The incident was reported in late September by the manager at the restaurant, after Cook (whose identity was unknown at that time) placed an order one morning and proceeded through both drive-thru windows - the window where he paid for his food, and the second window where he picked up his food. After paying for and picking up his food, Cook went through the drive-thru again with a second order, and when he arrived at the second drive-thru window, he exposed himself to the juvenile cashier while calling her by the name on her name tag. The cashier immediately closed the window and reported the incident to management, who contacted PCSO.

At that time, McDonald's employees were unable to identify the suspect, and only had a description of his vehicle as a black SUV. However, they did recognize him as a regular customer. When he returned to the restaurant two weeks later, they provided deputies with a possible name from his debit card, and the tag number on his vehicle. He was positively identified as Cook, and deputies obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was booked into the Polk County Jail on November 30th, and released after posting bond in the amount of $750.00.

Cook admitted to deputies that he committed the lewd act. His criminal history includes a 2014 arrest for battery domestic violence, and a 2017 arrest for transmission of material harmful to a minor and use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony. The 2017 arrest was made during a PCSO undercover investigation - click here to read the news release. 

We previously arrested Charlie Cook during an undercover child pornography investigation - he was sending nude images to a 15-year-old girl he met as a youth leader at a church. Now here he is again, trying to groom and solicit a child. He clearly wasn't rehabilitated or held accountable back in 2017, but we will do everything in our power to ensure he is held accountable now.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff