It started with a burglary on March 30, 2021. It ended with life in prison.
The three members of the Nelson family was visiting Washington Oaks State Park, from Michigan. They’d parked their Chevy Silverado in a parking lot close to the ocean around 1 p.m., then gone out to hang out at the beach and fish. They returned to the car at 6 p.m., and soon heard from their bank that their card may have been used fraudulently. They soon realized that a Glock firearm was missing from the center console in the Silverado, as were credit cards taken from wallets left there. They contacted the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
Last November, Caisy Frank, a 40-year-old resident of Brooklyn, N.Y., was tried and found guilty of armed burglary, grand theft of a firearm, additional grand theft counts, and fraud, among 10 charges. On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Terence Perkins sentenced Frank to life in prison.
Why the severity of the sentence for offenses that would typically net a defendant a few years in prison and a few on probation? Because he is a prison-release re-offender on his third go-around in the last 10 years. There were warrants for his arrest from New York, for a parole violation, and Georgia, for larceny, at the time of his arrest in Florida.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office used its Real Trime Crime Center to rapidly track and identify Frank, who was arrested by Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers the next day in Palm Beach County.
Frank had carried out numerous fraudulent transactions using the stolen credit and debit cards at Target and Walmart in Palm Coast. Those transactions were time-stamped, as always, enabling a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy to study surveillance videos at the stores, around the time of the transactions. That led to a white Yukon and its occupant, who turned out to be Frank, who was captured on surveillance video outside and inside Target, for example, going to the electronics department and buying Bose speakers and two Apple watches. Surveillance footage at Walmart found Frank buying a face mask, bath gloves, razors and other equipment deputies determined were typically used in burglaries.
License plate readers picked up the trail after that, enabling the identification of the Yukon as a rental from Hertz. The Yukon was equipped with live GPS tracking, and showed locations within 24 hours in Palm Beach County. Flagler law enforcement turned over the information to FWC, whose officers located the Yukon. Frank Fled from officers until he reached a draw bridge, where he got out of the car and threw a gun in the water below. He was arrested immediately after that on charges separate from those he faced at trial in Bunnell.
Frank was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Tara Libby and defended by Gerald Bettman.
“This is one of the cases that shows how important our RTCC is to solving crimes and stopping a dangerous criminal. Without our RTCC and advancements in technology that we have implemented since I’ve been Sheriff, it would have taken much longer to solve this case,” Sheriff Rick Staly was quoted as saying in a release. “Due to the hard work and training of our RTCC analysts and coordination with FWC, this convicted felon and multiple state repeat offender proved he is not capable of rehabilitation and now gets to live out the rest of his life behind bars.”
Frank was one of two men convicted to a life term without parole Tuesday. That afternoon, Perkins convicted Brenan Hill to life in prison for the shooting that led to the death of Savannah Gonzalez, his then-22-year-old girlfriend, in Palm Coast in 2021.