BUNNELL, FL – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) halted two criminals in their tracks over the Christmas weekend by proactively investigating suspicious circumstances. According to authorities, on Christmas day just after noon, Deputy Schmidt conducted a traffic stop on a gold GMC truck for rolling past a stop sign at the intersection of North Moore Street and East Moody Boulevard in Bunnell, Florida.
After speaking with the driver, identified as 40-year-old Cornelius Murphy Sr., Deputy Schmidt noticed the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. When asked, Murphy responded that there were no narcotics in the vehicle and he does not have a medical marijuana card. While Deputy Schmidt returned to his patrol vehicle to run Murphy’s information, Bunnell Police Corporal Groth arrived on scene and asked that Murphy move his vehicle in order to avoid a traffic jam.
Murphy backed his truck into a parking space and awaited Deputy Schmidt’s return. It was determined that Murphy’s tag on his truck was expired. Deputy Schmidt walked back to Murphy’s vehicle and asked Murphy to exit the vehicle. At that moment, Murphy put the truck in Drive and peeled out of the parking space; Deputy Schmidt had to jump out of the way to avoid being run over or pinned between Murphy’s truck and the vehicle beside it.
Deputy Schmidt and Corporal Groth followed behind the vehicle as it fled until Murphy eventually jumped out of the truck and fled on foot into a water filled ditch. In the ditch, Murphy appeared to be trying to burying an object in the mud. Soon deputies were able to take Murphy into custody.
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A search of the truck revealed 4.2 grams of Heroin, a gallon-sized bag of marijuana, an electronic scale and sandwich baggies commonly used for narcotics sales. A search of the ditch where Murphy was apprehended revealed a Crown Royal bag containing 110.3 grams of crack cocaine, 101 grams of marijuana, 109 oxycodone pills, 172 grams of Heroin and Fentanyl, and various other pills listed as Schedule 4 or Schedule 5 narcotic substances.
Murphy was ultimately charged with Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon, fleeing or eluding law enforcement, trafficking cocaine, trafficking fentanyl, trafficking oxycodone, possession of heroin, possession of schedule 4 and 5 substances, possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence, and reckless driving. He was booked at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility where he is being held on a $612,000 bond.
“He tried to run and hide but instead he just went to jail tired and wet, with a $600,000 bond,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Thanks to our partners with the Bunnell Police Department for helping us take this guy into custody without anyone getting injured.”
The following day, on December 26 at 1:15 am, Deputy Denker was proactively patrolling the Pinch a Penny parking lot at 5200 State Road 100 in Palm Coast when he noticed a Mercedes-Benz raised up on a jack. He had previously seen this same vehicle earlier in the evening, but it did not have a jack under it. Deputy Denker saw a male beneath the vehicle with metal shavings on the ground. Deputy Denker detained the male, identified as 38-year-old James Patrick, and located a Ryobi Sawzall on the ground with the vehicle’s exhaust pipe cut halfway through.
The man gave inconsistent statements on what he was doing with the vehicle, which was not registered to him. It was determined that Patrick was attempting to steal the catalytic converter from the vehicle. The registered owner of the vehicle told deputies that he did not know Patrick and did not give him permission to touch his vehicle. The cost to repair the vehicle is estimated at $757.
Patrick was arrested and charged with grand theft, burglary of a conveyance, and possession of burglary tools. He remains in jail on a $4,500 bond. An inventory of Patrick’s vehicle revealed a catalytic converter which appeared to have recently been cut from a large commercial vehicle. It was seized as evidence. Stealing catalytic converters has been a problem in Volusia and Flagler County’s and is often a difficult crime to solve.
“This is one reason why I implemented district policing in Flagler County – so that our deputies come to know what looks out of place in their districts and can investigate it,” Sheriff Staly said. “In this case, Deputy Denker stopped a theft in progress and put this guy in the Green Roof Inn before he could steal from someone else.”
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents to report any suspicious activity to the FCSO by calling 386-313-4911 for non-emergencies or sending a tip to TIPS@flaglersheriff.com. You can also send a tip through the FCSO Mobile App on your smartphone. For emergencies, dial 9-1-1.