It was not the best way for Daniel Hunter to repay his hosts’ hospitality.
Last December, when he was having marital problems, Cynthia Woods and her husband invited Hunter to stay with them on Lake Success Drive in Palm Coast for a few days. The 43-year-old man normally lives on Rockinghorse Drive. Hunter, who’d met Cynthia Woods while golfing, described to an investigator how, on Dec. 15, he was walking out of the Woods house when he supposedly saw Cynthia’s credit card on the driveway, where it must’ve fallen. At least that’s what he told an investigator. Hunter took the card. He then went shopping.
The same day of Hunter’s shopping spree, Woods was alerted of “suspicious activity” on her credit card by her bank. Woods reported the theft to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office–and charged that Hunter had stolen the card from her purse. She told a deputy that when she confronted Hunter about it (over the phone), Hunter reportedly told her: “I’m sorry. Please don’t put me in jail.”
By then he’d rung up a nearly $1,000 bill at T.J. Maxx and a couple of other charges at a convenience store. Among the items he bought: a necklace and earrings, which he sold to Florida Gold Exchange for $215 in cash, and ammunition for a gun he owned, which he later told police he traded for a fishing pole.
He was not supposed to own either gun or ammunition: he’s a convicted felon.
He also had bought a 5-foot fishing net, a cell phone charger, a black phone charger, miscellaneous fishing gear and fishing hooks, flip-flops, a red Nike bag, a red hat, a pair of sunglasses, and clothing. He brought those items to an interview with a sheriff’s investigator in late December. He had waived his right to an attorney for that interview.
But here’s where it gets intriguing.
It’s not clear why Hunter was not arrested around that time. The felony warrant for his arrest on three charges–theft by taking possession of another’s credit card, dealing in stolen property, fraudulent use of a credit card and possession of ammunition–was signed by County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens on Wednesday (April 10), and Hunter was arrested that day and booked into the Flagler County jail.
He swiftly posted bond and got out by the time the sheriff’s office issued a news release titled: “Palm Coast Man Arrested For A Second Time in a Month for Felony Theft.”
The release notes the details of the April 10 arrest, and also notes that “Hunter was arrested March 19 on a charge of stealing from a person 65 years of age or older after he posed as a painter to get inside her home. Once inside the 83-year-old’s home, detectives said the man stole several pieces of jewelry while he was suppose to be painting the interior of the home.”
The release does not note the timeline–that Wednesday’s arrest was for the December alleged thefts, and that the March arrest had taken place after Hunter’s interview with an investigator in December, at which he brought the items he is accused of having bought with the stolen credit card. A question to the sheriff’s office asking why he wasn’t arrested in December was answered by a spokeswoman on Friday who wrote in an email: “The investigator did not make an arrest in December because he had to independently corroborate the confession and research banks records obtain[ed] as part of the investigation.”
The release also notes: “Detectives believe there may be other victims. Hunter works as a painter and is believed to have stolen items from his customers while he was inside their home.” The release quotes Sheriff Jim Manfre cautioning residents to verify contractors’ licenses before allowing them into their home.
On March 18, Hunter was arrested and released on $15,000 bond.