The Flagler County Sheriff’s investigation of February thefts at a Catholic Church’s thrift store used to raise money for the needy and for church functions led to a second arrest last Thursday as surveillance video and a tattoo led to Michelle M. Wilburn, a 51-year-old resident of west Flagler.
Detectives relied on surveillance video and the accounts of the thrift store manager to conclude that they were looking for a Chevy conversion style van that had pulled up in front of the store in February before two women were seen stealing items dropped off as donations–clothing, blankets, shelving. Cpl. Shane Meehan was conducting a “career criminal check” at a particular address, 7809 State Road 100 West, where reported finding the van on March 2. “The van had the same distinctive sticker in the rear passenger window, same identifying stripes, and the same unique wheels,” Meehan reported to the detective conducting the investigation.
“Cpl. Meehan also indicated that the career offender that he was conducting the check on, Michelle M. Wilburn, was extremely similar in appearance to one of the suspected females that was in the Attempt to Identify,” the public notice the sheriff’s office disseminated in February. (See the image below.)
Wilburn is considered a “career offender” for having twice served state prison sentences: from 1997 to 1999 for burglary and grand theft, and for almost 15 years, from 2002 to 2017, for robbery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery and false imprisonment, when she was a resident of Broward County. This appears to be her first arrest in Flagler.
When detectives conducted a consensual interview with Wilburn, she admitted that the person in the “attempt to identify” was her, according to her arrest report. A distinctive tattoo on her leg also matched one in a surveillance image. But she didn’t remember much about that day. She told the officers that she was high on meth. But she recalled driving the van around, when its owner was in the hospital, and she recalled going to the thrift store. She named two other people who were with her and said they took all the stolen items.
Wilburn faces a third-degree felony charge of burglary and a second-degree misdemeanor charge of petit theft. She was booked at the county jail on $3,000 bond and released on Friday after posting bail.
In February, 46-year-old Angelia Nicole Newsome was arrested on similar charges. She has pleaded not guilty. The sheriff’s office is continuing its search for two more suspects. “Our team has done a great job investigating this case and working hard to get the stolen property back to the thrift store,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “They are continuing to follow up and track down the additional two suspects in this case.”
The previous article is below.
One Arrested, 3 Still Wanted in Separate Burglaries of St. Mary’s Thrift Shop
February 19–St. Mary’s Thrift Shop “is filled with new, like-new, and slightly loved items of all sorts,” the store associated with St. Mary’s Catholic Church nearby, states on its welcoming Facebook page. It opens from 10 to 2 five days a week. It’s more charity than business, raising money for the church or to help the needy.
On Wednesday, many of the store’s goods and recently donated items were stolen from the property, along with a metal wagon left out front so people, especially the elderly, can use it to carry donated items from their vehicle to the store.
Other items were stolen in a separate incident that appears unrelated to Wednesday’s. Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies are seeking the public’s help in finding two people involved in one of the two crimes.
The 57-year-old executive assistant who runs the store discovered the losses Wednesday morning. Checking surveillance footage, she detected a red Ford Focus parked in front of the store that morning before 8 a.m. A woman stepped out, went to the front of the thrift store where items were deposited, moved a few around, walked to the back, and stole several items from there. She shuttled the goods to her car then went back for more, stealing the green metal wagon as well.
The executive assistant discovered the same vehicle and suspect at the store on a previous night around midnight. The vehicle pulled up with no lights on, the woman got out, rummaged through some items but left without taking anything.
The next day Richard Petkovsek, the deputy assigned to investigate, canvassed neighboring areas, figuring that the suspect might be a neighbor. He located a red Ford Focus at the Old Dixie Community Park. The woman at the wheel bore a resemblance to the woman captured on the thrift store’s surveillance video.
The woman was identified as Angelina Newsome, 46, a resident of State Street in Bunnell. She conceded having been to the thrift store a couple of times. Then, in the presence of a detective, she “admitted to taking several different items” from in front of the store, her arrest report states, among them the green wagon. She said “she believed it was acceptable since she had donated items to the church in the past.”
She’d already given the wagon to a friend in Daytona Beach, she said, and offered to try to get it back, though it would take a few days. (She recovered it and turned it over today.) She also offered to take the deputies back to her house to recover other items she had taken. Once there, the deputies retrieved “approximately 25 miscellaneous items ranging from wicker baskets to pillows to blankets to home decor,” fruit of several trips by Newsome to the store over the past month. The value of the items was estimated to be around $150.
Newsome was arrested on a third-degree felony burglary charge and a larceny charge, a misdemeanor.
Surveillance footage picked up evidence of three other people stealing items from the store. See the images below.
The surveillance footage showed a 1980’s model Chevy camper-style van pull up in front of the store at 5:40 p.m. on February 16th and three individuals get out–a white man and two white women. They approached the front of the business and quickly gathered items and tossed them in the van before leaving. The camera angle prevented a tag number from being read.
“We are continuing to investigate the other thefts and asking the community to contact us if they recognize this vehicle or these suspects,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. If you have any information on this incident, please contact the sheriff’s office at 386-313-4911 and mention Case Number 2021-15263 or email [email protected]. You can remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477).