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Disturbance Call Leads Cops to Trove of Thefts in Flagler Beach, Including a Palm Coast Solar Panel

| April 25, 2014

Hunter Watson

Hunter Watson

A domestic disturbance gave it all away.

At 2 p.m. Thursday (April 24), police responded to a disturbance call at 1636 South Daytona Avenue in Flagler Beach. That’s the home of Hunter S. Watson, 24. While investigating the disturbance case, police noticed a golf cart that seemed out of place. A month earlier, a white EZ-GO golf cart worth $5,000 had been reported stolen from a fenced in construction storage facility at 141 Brookhaven Drive that belongs to Da Pau Enterprises. Though the cart had no VIN number, the one police found at the South Daytona Avenue address matched the one stolen from Da Pau Enterprises.

Before long, a swarm of police had arrived at Watson’s house and crime-scene tape went up: there was more to the police matters than the disturbance or the golf cart. Having secured a search warrant, Flagler County Sheriff’s detectives went to work on the property.

A detective had observed “numerous items in plain view on the property and immediately recognized these items as being stolen,” Watson’s arrest report states. The detective had previously been involved in the investigation of the thefts connected to what appeared to be the stolen objects, which included two large spools of wire.

One of those items was a Rainberg ACC solar panel valued at $5,000. The panel belongs to Palm Coast government. It was used in connection with the city’s irrigation system. Palm Coast’s Public Works Department reported the panel stolen in mid-January from a facility at 3000 Old Kings Road. A public works supervisor for Palm Coast went to the South Daytona Avenue address and personally identified the panel as the one that had been reported stolen.

Eventually, police had to use a truck to move the stolen property to the sheriff’s office.

Watson was arrested and charged with two counts of grand theft, burglary and trespassing. Bond was set at $5,500. By Friday, Watson had posted bail.

“The City of Palm Coast is proud of its green initiative to provide solar energy for City gateway signage and landscaping,” Bill Butler, the city’s landscape architect, said in a statement, “so we were disappointed and frustrated by the thefts of our solar energy panels and electrical equipment. We were pleased to get a tip about the thefts, and we are extremely happy that the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest and recovered some of our equipment. We would like to thank the Sheriff’s Office for its quality police work! Now we’re excited to get back on-track with using solar energy to light up our City gateways.”

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24 Responses for “Disturbance Call Leads Cops to Trove of Thefts in Flagler Beach, Including a Palm Coast Solar Panel”

  1. confidential says:

    We should all appreciate the good work of our Sheriff Department…!

  2. m&m says:

    Good job. Now let’s hope the judge doesn’t give him a slap on the wrist and turn him loose to resume his venture.

  3. A.S.F. says:

    Does this guy manage a local irrigation and Landscaping company, by any chance?

  4. Nikia says:

    Good job Sheriff’s Dept! In agreement with m&m – hopefully not just a slap on the wrist.

  5. Rick Belhumeur says:

    Congratulations to the Flagler Beach Cop that was observant enough to notice that something wasn’t right and alerting the County Detectives. A Flagler Beach Officer would have been the first to respond for the domestic disturbance. If not for his/her vigilance these stolen items could have continued to be missing indefinitely.

    • Rick Belhumeur says:

      I stand corrected. Turns out that the county detectives already had their suspicions. When Flagler Beach got the domestic call it gave the Sheriff’s department the opportunity to access the property. It was a Deputy that first recognized the stolen property.

  6. He was an acquaintance , seemed like a good kid , had a good irrigation business going , hope customers will be able to look past this , but trust is a hard thing to regain

    • The Truth says:

      Why should customers look past this? He’s a thief. I believe in second chances, but if he thinks he can just come right back in with his business as if nothing ever happened, he’s got a big wake up call coming.

  7. Charles Ericksen Jr says:

    Interesting, that the bond amount $5,500.. was less than the value of the items stolen and found..

  8. The Truth says:

    This gentleman owns a local lawn irrigation business, Hunter Irrigation and Landscaping. While I support second chances for everyone, I believe it will be very difficult for this man to keep his business afloat after this. He installed my well a few years back and did a good job. I hope he gets his life in order, he’s too young for this.

  9. Happening now says:

    You can chose your friends, but not your family. Enough said.

  10. Kurt says:

    @Rick…the Flagler Beach cop did not observe anything and should not be congratulated, pull the police reports and you will see. Sheriff’s Deputy Duenas responded as a backup unit and called for his supervisor and detectives. Good job Deputy Duenas and FCSO!

  11. southernbell says:

    you can pick ya nose but ya cant pick ya family.

  12. Steve McGrew says:

    I’ve known Hunter most of his life. He’s a good hard working young man. He’s just made some bad decision.
    I’m not saying this was alright or right in any way. Properties were recovered and return. Now Hunter needs to pay for his decisions, learn from them and go on with his live and start making better decision.
    I believe in second changes.

  13. MaryJo says:

    ok, landscaping/irrigation. makes sense how he was able to move this stuff around.. seems to me with large objects he would still need some assistance.

  14. MovinOn says:

    Completely agree… This young man could not have moved these items on his own… Sad thing this economy. From the sounds of it, he “was” doing well, stuff happened and he turned left instead of right… Second chances, sure. But, he’s going to have a lot to recover from and it probably won’t be in this town.

  15. Stxgirl says:

    This guy has been scamming the system for years. He was in an accident in the middle of the day. His dad told the news that he couldn’t wait till Hunter got better so he can “surf all day like he always does” while the tax payer pays a certified teacher to come to his house because he is too sick to attend school. Not too sick to surf all day. And we wonder how these young kids LEARN this behavior……

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