CLERMONT, Florida—A man accused of exposing himself to a teenager last year when she dropped off a food delivery turned himself in on a warrant Thursday.
Last May, a 17-year-old girl was helping her mom deliver food for a delivery service when they went to an apartment at Sundance at Clermont Apartments on Johns Lake Road. The girl went upstairs to deliver an order to a customer named “Cody,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
The man, later identified as Cody Ray Baker, 28, opened the door and took the food from the girl and she noticed his penis sticking out of his pants. The girl got scared and ran downstairs to her mother and a few minutes later “Cody” sent a message through the delivery app that stated, “yo you’re cute lol,“ the affidavit states.
The teen’s mom contacted Clermont Police Department and the teen provided a description of the man and officers went to Baker’s apartment attempted to speak with him, but no one answered to the door, according to the affidavit.
CPD located a photo of Baker and later, during a photo lineup, the girl stated two of the photos looked similar to the suspect, but she was unable to positively identify him. CPD made several more attempts to speak with Baker in person and obtained a phone number for Baker. When CPD called the number, an officer asked if she was speaking with Baker and he said, “yes,” and then hung up when she identified herself. Baker then blocked her number.
A warrant was issued for Baker’s arrest July 10, 2022, for exposure of sexual organs and he turned himself in at the Lake County Jail Thursday. He was released a little more than three hours later on $1,000 bond.
TAVARES, Florida—Law enforcement and supporters will join forces for the fourth annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk at Wooton Park Saturday morning.
Scheduled for 9 a.m., this is one of many law enforcement events around Lake County held in May during Law Enforcement Appreciation Month. In its fourth year, the walk began in 2019 to show support for law enforcement during a time when the “defund the police” movement was making its way across the country, event organizer Shannon Cook told Inside Lake. Representatives from several law enforcement agencies and numerous public officials are expected to be in attendance.
“The good ones needed to know they were appreciated,” Cook said.
Cook has always had respect for law enforcement officers and the job they do, she said. Her close friend, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayne Koester, was killed in the line of duty Feb. 9, 2005. Koester, who was 33 at the time, and two other deputies were ambushed while responding to a domestic violence call. All three deputies were shot, and Koester succumbed to his injuries; the other two deputies recovered. Jason Wheeler was shot and paralyzed during his capture and convicted in Koester’s death. Cook was also close to Chris Daniels, who was serving as Lake County Sheriff when he was tragically killed in a charity bus race in 2006 on his birthday.
Cook told Inside Lake it is important the community show its support for all of the good officers and those who were lost in the line of duty. Usually a one-woman show, Cook has some help this year from Wayne Koester’s brother, Victor Koester, Jolie Fowler, owner of The Car Doctor Automotive Specialist Inc., in Eustis, Lt. Kristin Thompson of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Nina Rosania, who is very active in the community, especially in her efforts helping out small businesses in Lake County.
Participants will meet a 9 a.m. at Wooton Park, 100 East Ruby Street, Tavares. The first stop will be the Lake County Administration Building, then a stop at the Tavares Public Safety Complex and the walk will end at Kalua Beach Bar with lunch. Donuts will be provided before the walk by Lake Tire & Auto in Tavares, and a hot dog lunch will be available at Kalua Beach Bar, provided by the restaurant and Duct-Man Mechanical LLC in Eustis.
CLERMONT, Florida—A Clermont man claimed a $1 million prize from a winning scratch-off ticket, the Florida Lottery announced Tuesday.
John McPherson, 38, bought his $50 winning ticket, 500X THE CASH at Publix, 4351 South U.S. Highway 27, Clermont and chose to take his winnings in a one-time, lump sum payment of $820,000, the Florida Lottery said. The Publix location will receive $2,000 bonus commission for selling the ticket.
This is the fourth $1 million dollar winning scratch-off ticked purchased in Lake County this year.
LAKE COUNTY, Florida—Lake County officials imposed a burn ban effective Friday that will last indefinitely, according to a press release.
The burn ban is in effect for all of Lake County and prohibits the burning of yard debris, land and recreational fires but does not include outdoor fireplaces, barbecue grills and barbecue pits that have a total fuel area of 3 feet or less and 2 feet or less in height.
Dry conditions forced the move by county officials and surrounding counties have enacted similar bans. For more than three weeks, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) rating has exceeded 500 and the ban is necessary for public safety, the press release stated.
When the KDBI rating falls below 500 for seven consecutive days, the county will lift the ban.
CLERMONT, Florida—A Miami Beach man was killed when the SUV he was driving crashed head-on into an RV early Sunday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The 35-year-old man was driving a grey Mitsubishi SUV westbound on County Road 474 when he made a wide right turn on State Road 33, and crossed the center line, striking an RV head-on in unincorporated Clermont just after 3 a.m. Sunday, FHP Lt. Channing Taylor said in a press release.
The Miami Beach man was pronounced dead on the scene by Lake County Fire Rescue, Taylor said. The driver of the RV, a 51-year-old man, and his passengers, a 54-year-old man, and a 48-year-old woman, all of Auburndale, suffered minor injuries and were transported to a local hospital.
CLERMONT, Florida—A 7th grade Lake Pointe Academy student was arrested Wednesday after a deputy at a rival school received a tip he threatened to “shoot up” Windy Hill Middle School, according to an arrest affidavit.
Inside Lake is not naming the 13-year-old boy due to his age.
Windy Hill Middle School’s (WHMS) school resource deputy (SRD) received a tip and screenshot of a snap the Lake Pointe Academy (LPA) student posted on his Snapchat account that reportedly said, “Windy to be shoot up.” The WHMS SRD contacted the LPA SRD and sent her the screenshot, according to the affidavit.
The SRD and two members of LPA’s administration questioned the boy, and he admitted posting the snap. He said he was mad they lost their first game and wanted to scare the other school, the affidavit states. The boy said he was joking but he knew it meant something bad and he did not plan on doing anything he just wanted to “scare them.” He also said some of the WHMS players were being mean and talking about them, according to the affidavit.
Both schools are located in Clermont and the affidavit did not state what sport the boy plays.
The boy was arrested for written threats to kill and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
CLERMONT, Florida—An 8-year-old boy was arrested Saturday after his foster brother told deputies he choked him and swung a kitchen knife at his throat, cutting his neck, according to an arrest affidavit.
Inside Lake is not naming the boy due to his age.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at a home in unincorporated Clermont after receiving a weapons complaint shorty before 4:30 p.m. Saturday. When they arrived, a witness said the boy cut another child’s throat and was outside without the knife. Deputies found the boy outside banging on the front door of the home, “emotionally crying” and stating he did not want to be taken away. As deputies attempted to handcuff the boy, he pulled away multiple times and kicked a deputy in the stomach as they placed him in the back of a patrol car, according to the affidavit.
The victim, whose age is not listed in the affidavit, told LCSO the 4-feet tall, 100-pound boy jumped on him and elbowed him in the stomach earlier in the day. The victim approached the boy later and tried to apologize and the boy began to scream at him. The boy then grabbed the victim with both hands and squeezed the victim’s throat until he could not breathe. The victim kicked the boy and he released him and the victim restrained him by holding him down. The boy grabbed a kitchen knife and walked outside, according to the affidavit.
The victim followed him outside and attempted to speak with him and he swung the knife at him, cutting his neck and a neighborhood friend disarmed the boy and gave it to an adult witness. The boy then grabbed a stick from inside and tried to hit the victim, but was stopped by multiple children. The boy asked where the knife was and said he was going to kill everyone, and went back into the house to look for another knife, the affidavit states.
The victim had a laceration to his neck consistent with his story, the arresting deputy noted in the affidavit.
The boy, who has a history of violence, was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, battery by strangulation, battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and resisting arrest. He was transported to the Lake County Jail and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
TAVARES, Florida—A Clermont woman wanted for grand theft of a cosmetic procedure she received more than two years ago was finally picked up on the warrant in Hillsborough County and transferred to Lake County last week.
In November 2020, The Spa at South Lake, 1900 Don Wickham Drive, Clermont performed a cosmetic procedure on Eboni Nykia Wheeler, 41, and when it was time to pay the $1,098 bill, Wheeler said she did not have her credit card with her and gave The Spa a backup credit card number. Wheeler did not give employees the actual card, a Clermont Police Department detective noted in the probable cause affidavit.
Wheeler, who has several aliases and gave the business the last name Williams, was informed if she did not settle her bill by the following morning, the backup card number would be charged, according to the affidavit. Wheeler said she would go to her mother’s home, retrieve the card and provide the business with the card number that night, but she never called.
The following morning an employee attempted to charge the backup card number Wheeler provided and the card was declined multiple times, the affidavit states. The business contacted Wheeler and she reportedly said her husband would be transferring funds to her backup credit card because her main card was maxed out. Wheeler failed to contact the business and they attempted to charge the card again on Dec. 2, 2020. Wheeler’s husband then contacted the business, angry because he claimed the multiple attempts to charge the card resulted in the card being flagged for fraud.
More than a week later, an employee contacted Williams again and left her a message stating they would call law enforcement if Williams did not contact them by the end of the day.
Seventeen days after the procedure—a CPD detective contacted Wheeler and she admitted to having the procedure done and told the detective she intended to pay as soon as the bank released the hold on her funds and she would call the bank and the detective two days later.
“On December 16, 2020, after getting off the phone with Eboni (Wheeler,) I did some further research on her, and I discovered Williams is one of her aliases. Eboni has been arrested multiple times stemming as far back as 2010, to the point she was sentenced on August 9, 2018, spending one year and eight months, in prison for multiple felonies to include organized fraud, grand theft, worthless checks and obtaining lodging with intent to defraud,” the CPD detective noted in the affidavit.
A warrant was issued for Wheeler in January 2021 and she was picked up in Hillsborough County and transferred to the Lake County Jail Thursday, where she is being held on $2,000 bond.
CLERMONT, Florida—After a months-long investigation by Clermont Police Department, two men were arrested this week after scamming an elderly man out of his home and selling it late last year.
According to a probable cause affidavit, in November 2022, the victim’s niece filed an online complaint with Clermont Police Department stating she believed her uncle was a victim of foreclosure fraud and she found his house was for sale, which was impossible because he is mentally and physically impaired and was admitted to a rehabilitation facility. She also stated she and her husband had power of attorney (POA) over most of her uncle’s affairs, including real estate and financial transactions.
The woman and her husband met with a Clermont Police detective a little over a week later and provided paperwork proving they had power of attorney, in addition to medical records that noted the victim’s cognitive impairment and bank records showing charges to “Lensz Investments.” She also gave the detective a written timeline that included when she contacted the listing agent on her uncle’s home, and stated the agent provided the name, “Emmanuel Damier.” Lensz Investments is linked to Damier, the detective noted in the affidavit.
The couple explained the victim’s wife died in August 2020 and he wanted them to take care of his affairs because he was getting older and did not know how to function financially. Just four days after his wife died, and while he was of sound mind, he gave the couple POA, the affidavit states.
The victim’s niece discovered the home was in foreclosure, due to a reverse mortgage the victim’s wife took out before she died, but also found a bankruptcy filing that stopped the foreclosure proceedings. The victim’s niece did not believe the signature on the document was truly her uncle’s because it was signed more than two years after giving her and her husband POA, the affidavit states.
The CPD detective found that a quit claim deed was filed on July 25, 2022 that gave the home to Mc’ckol Credit Services LLC. While researching, the detective found that the registered agent of Mc’ckol Credit Services is Lyns Dayoute and found that Damier—the name given to the victim’s niece by the listing agent—is the registered agent of Lensz Investments.
CPD served the listing agent with a subpoena of her records and found the following: the seller was listed as Mc’ckol Credit Services LLC with a listing price of $315,000; a buyer was listed and a closing date set for Dec. 5, 2022.
The detective met with the elderly victim, who admitted he had memory issues, and showed him paperwork that allegedly contained his signature. The victim said some of the signatures looked accurate but was “adamant” others were not his actual signature. The detective showed him the quit claim deed and explained the document is used to give away property. The victim asked, “Why would anyone want to do that?” The detective continued to explain the quit claim deed on his home gave the home to Mc’ckol Credit Services. The victim seemed confused, the detective noted, and he said the signature did look like his, but he had no recollection of signing it and he did not know why he would give his house away, the affidavit states.
CPD subpoenaed the victim’s medical records from several different facilities and found his cognitive abilities were impaired from April 22, 2021, until Nov. 3, 2022; in addition to a home healthcare agency noting the victim said he was “scammed and lost a lot of money.”
Records from two title companies were subpoenaed and CPD found that the original title company would not close on the home because Mc’ckol Services refused to provide a gift affidavit stating the home was given freely and the donor was competent at the time. The detective spoke with the title company and a representative said the document was required to prevent fraud, according to the affidavit.
The closing was transferred to a new title company after the first one refused and records showed the home closed on Dec. 2, 2022, and more than $93,000 was given to the seller, Mc’ckol Services. CPD interviewed Damier—the name given to him by the listing agent and the registered agent of Lensz Investments. Damier said he had an agreement with the victim that after the sale, $10,000 would go to the victim and $290,000 would go to Damier. The detective asked Damier to provide the paperwork and he reportedly got “very guarded” and refused to answer any more questions.
Dayoute—the registered agent of Mc’ckol Services—called the detective and said he is the owner of Mc’ckol Services and Damier is his business partner. He explained the proceeds of the sale would be divided between the victim, the HOA for past dues and the holder of the reverse mortgage. He agreed to meet with the detective and provide all the paperwork, according to the affidavit.
Dayoute and Damier agreed to meet with the detective at their office in Ocoee on Jan. 13. The pair claimed to be business partners and Damier said they met the victim after sending a mailer to his home. He said they went to the victim’s home and explained everything to the victim and “prepared various paperwork and obtained (the victim’s) signature on a few documents,” including a third-party authorization to obtain information from the HOA and the bank, the affidavit states.
Damier said once they obtained the information they needed, the went back to the victim so he could sign a contract. Damier and Dayoute provided a contract to the detective that was signed in pencil and not notarized. The detective questioned Damier about two charges totaling $1,650 to Lensz Investments and Damier claimed one charge was for a home inspection and one was a repayment of a loan.
CPD went back to the victim and showed him the quit claim deed; he again said he had no recollection of signing the document and also said he believed Damier was a friend of his daughter’s. The detective spoke with the victim’s daughter and she said a man named Ignacio showed up at the home with a flyer and said he knew the home was in foreclosure and he wanted to help. Her father was introduced to Damier and Dayoute and her father signed a “bunch of paperwork” to include contracts and a lease agreement. She said Damier has given her $2,500 and helped her with hotel stays, and said she did not know anything about the sale of the house.
A warrant was issued for Damier, 42, and Dayoute, 29, for grand theft, scheme to defraud and exploitation of the elderly. They turned themselves in at the Lake County Jail Tuesday, where they were both released on $60,000 bond.
The Lake County Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office provides a Property Fraud Alert service for property owners in Lake County. According to its website, the office, “offers citizens a free Recording Notification Service via automated emails. Citizens can request monitoring of up to five different names per registered email address. When a document is recorded into the Official Records of Lake County with an identity that is being monitored, an email will automatically be sent to the provided email address.” Visit Recording Notification Service (lakecountyclerk.org) to sign up.
CLERMONT, Florida—A Clermont woman was arrested after a neighbor’s Ring camera captured a violent altercation between her and another set of neighbors, according to an arrest affidavit.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on Moonflower Court in unincorporated Clermont on a report of a battery shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday and spoke with a man who said an altercation had occurred between him and his neighbors. The man told a deputy he saw his son get shot in the face by his neighbor’s son with a Nerf gun from about 6 inches away and he walked over to have a conversation with the boy’s mother, Heather M. Schunk, 41.
Schunk was “very belligerent” and reportedly told the man she was not in the right state mental state to talk to him and he asked to speak with her husband. He told LCSO Schunk became aggressive, and they proceeded to have a verbal altercation. Schunk’s husband came outside, and the man’s wife walked up and joined in the verbal altercation. Schunk’s husband then “got in (the man’s) face” in a “threatening manner,” while Schunk grabbed a hockey stick from the garage area, the affidavit states.
The victim told Schunk’s husband to step away and he did not and the victim pushed him, he told the deputy. Schunk then swung the hockey stick at the victim, striking his left arm. She dropped the hockey stick and picked up a shovel and a baseball bat and swung them in the direction of the victim and his wife. As Schunk walked away she said, “Go back to Mexico and eat a burrito in Mexico,” and that statement was captured on the female victim’s phone, according to the affidavit. The female victim told the deputy she “took offense to the words and stated she believed it was a hate crime,” the deputy noted in the affidavit.
An independent witness provided Ring camera video to the deputy that corroborated the victims’ story and Schunk was taken into custody. Schunk’s husband complained of jaw pain and was transported to a local hospital and Schunk was arrested for two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon-hate crime and one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. She was booked into the Lake County Jail and released on $14,000 bond.