Charles Swindell is a frequent felon. He’s been convicted of assaulting an elderly person, of arson, of probation violation, and he’s been charged with some 15 felonies over the years, including an accusation that he branded a pre-teen boy with a metal object two years ago. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in that case.
On Wednesday, he was back in jail on four new felony charges after being accused of stealing a gun from someone he knew and had just picked palmetto berries with, then texting him to ask for $250 to give it back. He was charged with burglary, possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and dealing in stolen property. He was booked at the Flagler County jail, but he wasn’t there long: less than three hours after his booking, he’d posted bail on $12,500 bond and was released.
The incident dates back to Aug. 28, when Swindell, 47, a resident of 7 Universe Court in Palm Coast, had gone berry-picking with James Black, a 51-year-old resident of Wauchula who’d driven in for the occasion, and a Anthony DeWilliams, 42, of Ormond Beach. The three had gone to a vacant lot at Secretary Trial and Seckle Court in Palm Coast. Swindell told the other two they had permission from the owner to be on the lot. Black was suspicious. So he decided to leave his firearm in his car, because if he was trespassing and was arrested doing so, he did not want to be caught with a firearm.
The three men picked palmetto berries. At some point Swindell left them and went back to his car, saying he was not feeling well. Then he left. Black’s own car had been left unlocked at that point, Black told deputies. Later, Black started driving to Ormond Beach to drop off DeWilliams, then home. On the way, he had a flat tire. He sought to arm himself before changing the tire, thinking he was in a high-crime area. But he couldn’t find the gun. His suspicion turned to Swindell. He sent text messages to both Swindell and DeWilliams.
Black reported the weapon–a .22 caliber North American Arms–stolen to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 1. Four weeks later, he reported to the sheriff’s office that Swindell was allegedly trying to sell him the gun for $250.
“Through investigative methods,” Swindell’s arrest report states, deputies secured a search warrant for Swindell’s property, which Circuit Judge Dennis Craig Signed on Oct. 5. That day, the warrant was served at Swindell’s Universe Court house, where he kept telling deputies that he did not have the gun and that they would not find it. But he did tell them that he had told Black he had the gun, only because–he claimed–Black owed him money for the berries they’d picked. But he never actually had possession of the firearm, he claimed.
He was right in so far as the house was concerned. But when deputies searched Swindell’s 2001 Chevrolet Silverado, they found a .22 caliber North American Arms, bearing the serial number that matched that of the gun Black had reported stolen.
Swindell was arrested. As a four-time convicted felon, Swindell is eligible for career criminal prosecution with enhanced penalties of up to life in prison. Based on accessible records of the Department of Corrections, he has yet to serve in state prison: his incarcerations appear to have all been in county jails.
Bill S says
??????? Why is this person with this kind of record even on the street….
Concerned Citizen says
I have to shake my head at this one.
This is a clear cut case of light sentencing on our judges part. Why on earth are judges letting this guy go? He clearly shows no remorse for his crimes and is a clear and present danger to society.
What baffles me even more is the fact that someone allowed a bond to be set on possession of a fire arm by a convicted felon. That should be a non bond-able offense.
Stop with the light sentencing on offenses and hold people accountable for their actions !!
Would also be interesting to see if these men did have permission to be berry picking on this lot. Might be more charges in the works. I see individuals berry picking all over and have had to run them off in the communities I work. If you don’t have permission it’s Trespassing no matter what you’re after.
Lock him up and throw the key away before this creep hurts someone
Time to lock him up for a very long time finally.Funny that a lot of people will almost do anything other than get a real job.
Perfect last name.
Chris A Pickett says
Gee, perhaps soon he will steal from the wrong person……….
Peaches McGee says
Me thinks he ate the wrong berries.
Tired of it says
Why is this idiot even on the street? Oh I know why. The worthless judges don’t want to send him to jail for a long time. He is only a repeat felon and arsonist. Get rid of the weak liberal judges. They are as much of the problem as the criminals.
would you like a set of wipers with that gun? and are you oiling your gun with 10w30 or 0w20 synthetic?
The guy trying to make a living. Best to support his baby or worst, support his addiction.
tim thoms says
what a toad!!!!
Welcome to the dumb criminal Capital of the Universe
New Yorker says
Detective Sergeant Miller is the “cream of the crop” and his work is the bees knees. Thank YOU sarge for your hard work and dedication to the thin blue line!!!
Eligible? Should be mandatory.
This 47 year old looks like he is at least 60. I bet when they took his mugshot he was thinking ‘Thank God I ain’t black, or else I’d be in prison by now.’
Stranger in a strange land says
Another gun left in a car finds it’s way into criminal hands. We are lucky this guy was stupid enough to try to sell it back. Unfortunately, that’s not usually what happens. There was an article where Volusia county Sheriff spoke about guns stolen from cars. Here are two excerpts:
Since the beginning of 2016, more than 300 guns have been stolen out of unlocked cars in Volusia County, Sheriff’s Office statistics show.
Between January 2016 and March 2017, of the 300 weapons taken more than 280 were handguns, the majority were semi-automatic pistols. One AR-15 rifle, at least 15 shotguns, five rifles and one crossbow were stolen, according to statistics provided by the Volusia Sheriff’s Office.
If you feel you need a gun PLEASE do not leave it in your car. “Hiding it” doesn’t work. There are so many cars broken into (many of them unlocked). You may be responsible for turning a minor who was doing something stupid like looking for loose change in unlocked cars into a murderer. If you think you are the “Good Guy” with a gun that’s gonna stop the bad guy, don’t have your guns in a place that a bad guy can easily steal it. By definition, a stolen gun is in the hands of a bad guy, a criminal. I think the owner of a gun that is stolen out of a car and used for a crime should be charged as an accessory to that crime.
bob fortier says
What would one expect with a name like “swindle”? Here we see a prime and glaring example of how light sentences are working out. Did the judges really think he would just change his behaviors?
I am speechless. WOW. The system sucks.
so the gun owner with the unlocked car may be responsible for turning a minor into a murderer?
should spoons be locked up too-are store managers possibly at fault for turning fit people into obese slobs?
Well, his name sure is appropriate!
Gail Wynnds says
If you must leave a pistol or revolver in your car, consider a small safe that can be
bolted in under your seat with little trouble. As a gun owner, you need to be serious
about preventing your firearm from being stolen. You already know that there’s a crime
problem, and you realize that your weapon can be stolen and used in a crime.
Do you want that to happen? If you can afford a gun and ammo-you can afford a
car safe. Google “car gun safe” and see what pops up.
There’s places where guns aren’t permitted, so this should be a mandatory requirement.
The little safe will turn a quick robbery into a hassle, and the perp will move on to an
Gail Wynnds says
The aforementined safe can be mounted in the trunk as well. Newer cars have little space underneath
the seats. I am used to my old Silverado that has lots of space under the driver’s seat.
Hasta la vista, baby.
It seems like most all crime has its roots in drug abuse as is implied in this article and some of the comments. At some point we have to make the risk for trafficking in drugs to great for the financial gains they provide. Only then will this crime wave subside.
I mean this guy is obviously a piece of garbage, but why leave your vehicle unlocked with a firearm in it!?
Why do our judges let these criminals walk among us WHY???????? LOCK THIS SCUM UP FOR GOOD.
hmm? he branded someone – well how about branding him with a big “F” for felon right on his forehead. that way people would be aware when he roams the streets since they will not lock him up.
Lip Conghee says
Here’s how you make the risk of drug trafficking too great for the financial gain they provide. Legalize drugs. There would be zero incentive commit crime for a drug that can be purchased legally.
Stranger in a strange land says
So uhh, what is the crime you are referring to?
Just the truth says
WOW, there is something wrong with the justice system letting someone like this being allowed to have any bail. Seems like the justice system isn’t thinking about innocent peoples lives having this criminal walk our streets.