When Flagler County Sheriff’s detective Joe Barile went to 57 Brushwood Lane in Palm Coast to arrest Markell Peck, Peck knew what it was about: the Christmas burglary at Roma Court Academy, the pre-school at 515 Palm Coast Pkwy. S.W., of which he was accused.
The Academy’s Mark Atchison had informed police of the alleged burglary on Jan. 2, after discovering that someone had broken into the school and used one classroom in particular–Classroom 37–to rummage through cabinets and containers and take money from Christmas cards, while using the laundry room to sleep. A tablet was among the items stolen.
Peck, 21, had it in his possession, conceded that he’d taken it from Roma Court, and turned it over to deputies. But it wasn’t the tablet that had led the detective to Brushwood Lane.
One of the items recovered from the school was a VyStar bank deposit slip. The account number was incomplete. But it included the branch location and the time of the deposit, which was made through an ATM. Automatic teller machines are equipped with surveillance cameras. The bank, after complying with a subpoena, sent Barile Peck’s name and image, which matched an image of Peck in a law enforcement database and appeared to match his image from surveillance footage at Roma Court.
At his arrest, Peck agreed, after hearing his Miranda warning, to explain what had led him to Roma Court.
According to his arrest report, he had no home. He could have stayed at his mother’s place but decided against it because she made him follow certain rules, among them not smoking pot. He was originally sleeping in the parking garage below Roma Court. When it got too cold he walked upstairs, noticed an open door, and walked in. He stayed there several days, on and off, according to his arrest report. He drank a few juices, ate some food there, took the computer tablet–but not a Samsung speaker he’d also been accused of taking: that, he said, should still be back at the academy.
He also took $20 or $30, and after a few days. left.
He was charged with two felony counts: burglary and grand theft. He remains at the Flagler County Jail on $5,000 bond. In October he was charged with possession of pot with intent to sell, originally a felony, but the charge was downgraded to a misdemeanor possession of less than 20 grams and transferred from circuit to county court. He is to be arraigned on Feb. 14 on that charge, before County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens.