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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.

Nov 9, 2023

Mulberry store clerk charged for selling alcohol to a 17-year old

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

"The law is very well-known; do not sell alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age. It's just that simple, yet some store clerks have to learn it the hard way. We do these store-checks often to make sure Polk County stores and clerks abide by the state law." - Grady Judd, Sheriff

Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office carried-out another round of Operation Pop Top checks at local stores on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. The goal: to ensure stores are refusing to sell alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years of age, per Florida law.

Aiding the deputies in these checks are students in the PCSO's Explorers program--a program for high school students who are interested in a career in law enforcement.

The deputies and the Explorer visited eight stores in the Lakeland, Bartow, and Mulberry on Wednesday. Seven of the stores refused to sell an alcoholic beverage to the 17-year old student.

But the Explorer was successful at one store--the Chevron store at 506 West Canal Street in Mulberry. 

58-year old Theresa Seeger of Auburndale, a clerk at the Chevron store, was arrested and charged with selling alcohol to a person under 21 years of age (M2).

Deputies also charged Seeger with Violation of Probation (Felony Battery) and for Failure to Appear (Public Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages). 

She was taken to the Polk County Jail.