William R. Westervelt, a resident of 56 Ryland Drive in Palm Coast, is among the Flagler County jail’s most frequent return visitors: nine recorded bookings in the last seven years on charges of burglary, armed burglary, theft, cruelty to animals, probation violations, dealing in stolen property and the odd drug charge.
If Westervelt is a frequent-flyer at the county jail, Jerry Falls would qualify for elite membership: he has four arrests in four months this year, and 18 in the past 10 years, not including a one-year sentence in state prison, from where he was released in 2012 after a conviction on grand theft and burglary charges. Falls’s charges include tampering or destroying evidence, tampering with a witness, burglary, felony battery, several misdemeanor battery, domestic battery, assault, theft, and driving on a suspended license.
On Thursday, both 27-year-old men were charged with fresh charges, though only Westervelt was arrested: Falls was already in jail on previous charges, so the burglary and dealing in stolen property charges were merely tacked on to what the latest he already faced: felony driving on a suspended license, illegal possession of methadone (the heroin substitute prescribed to addicts) and tampering or destroying evidence. Earlier this week the felony driving charge meant he’d violated the terms of his bond on the earlier charges, and bond was revoked. (He was towing a motorcycle with a rope and a passenger on the dirt bike when a cop stopped him on May 1.) The cop was so familiar with Falls’s arrest record that he knew his license had been suspended previously.
The latest theft charges stem from a sheriff’s investigation into a report by a Mondex (or Daytona North) resident that his 2008 Kawasaki ATV had been stolen for about 10 days–going back to the time when the victim’s daughter had likely told him that the dogs had been barking at someone outside. The shed where the ATV was parked was not locked. The keys were in the ATV. Neighbors had told the victim that they’d seen Falls ride the ATV.
A few days later, on May 1, a Cottonwood Street resident asked the sheriff’s office to trespass Westervelt–that is, to formally forbid him from stepping on her property again. She told the deputy that she knew him from high school but did not associate with him because of his alleged drug use, according to an arrest report. And she told the deputy that Westervelt had ridden over to her house on a green Kawasaki ATV that matched the description of the one reported stolen a few days earlier.
On Wednesday, yet another Mondex resident told deputies that Falls and Westervelt had contacted her and tried to sell her the green Kawasaki ATV for $400 a week earlier. Falls had told the prospective buyer that he needed the money to bail someone out of jail. The resident bought the ATV for $200, and said she’d pay the rest when she got a bill of sale. Only later she heard that the ATV was actually stolen property, she told deputies. When she did, she called the owner and returned the ATV to him.
The owners of the ATV had another piece of evidence that tied the alleged theft to Westervelt and Falls: during the alleged theft, Westervelt dropped a Galaxy tablet on the owner’s property. The owner took hold of the tablet and saw several messages between Falls and Westervelt alluding to the theft.
Asked about the ATV by deputies, Falls, speaking from jail, denied having anything to do with the theft. Westervelt said he had permission to ride the ATV, and that the tablet belonged to Falls, not to him.
Both men were charged in connection with the theft and sale of the ATV, originally valued at $4,000. The ATV was reported stolen on April 30. Westervelt is still in jail as of this evening, on a bond of $17,500. Falls remains in jail, his bond revoked.