Crime

Local Sex Offender to Spend 3 Years in Federal Prison

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An improper move from Jacksonville to North Carolina has resulted in one more move for a registered sex offender: to federal prison.

United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill today announced a three-year federal prison sentence for 36-year-old Jeffrey Ramon Highsmith for failing to register as a sex offender.

Highsmith was required to register when he moved from Jacksonville to North Carolina.  He was arrested in January 2010 in North Carolina.

O'Neill cited court documents noting Highsmith's 2006 conviction for lewd and lascivious molestation of a child.  Highsmith was then sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years probation.

Highsmith was released in May 2007, and registered as a convicted sex offender in Florida.  He was then required to re-register twice a year and wear a monitoring device while on probation.

JSO Layoffs to be Announced in Lottery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- No officers are losing their jobs today, but the head of the local police union is still "too furious to comment" about a lottery being used to determine which uniformed officers will lose their jobs.

Jacksonville Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said a class of 28 officers will be ranked from 1-28, and the highest-ranking of those will be the first laid off as the result of budget cuts to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

"If we get to that class, we would start at the top of that list and work our way down it," said Senterfitt.

He says the lottery is the first step in the cuts the Sheriff's Department needs to make.

"We have to identify people, that if we're going to lay people off, who gets laid off," he said.

Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sexual Relationship With Child

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a child has changed her plea to guilty.

Kristina Hartless was arrested in December on three counts of capital sexual battery of a child while in custodial authority.

She was at the time a teacher at Beauclerc Elementary School, and was suspended after her arrest.

She initially entered a not guilty plea, but today changed her plea to guilty.

According to the Duval County Clerk of Courts website, two of the three charges against her have been dropped.

Her sentence includes 13 months in prison, with credit for time served (2 days).

She will serve sex offender probation for five years and may have no direct or indirect contact with the victim.

Other requirements include:

Bank Robbery Suspect Recognized by Parole Officer, Captured

Bank Robbery Suspect Recognized by Parole Officer, Captured

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The suspect wanted for a bank robbery a week ago is in jail because of a previous crime.

An armed robber walked into the BB&T Bank downtown last Monday morning and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.

A surveillance camera outside the bank got a profile picture of the suspect.

Jonathan Shaun Mathis' parole officer recognized him and called police.

Police then found and captured Mathis, who faces charges of armed robbery and violation of parole.

Copper Thieves Pick Production Company as Target

Copper Thieves Pick Production Company as Target

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Copper thefts from air conditioning units are not uncommon, but today there was a different kind of copper theft.

"We were getting ready for a production run and couldn't," said Robert Jufer.

Jufer, a production manager for Bakersport, said Saturday morning company workers discovered that someone had stolen several feet of copper wire connecting the Beach Boulevard business to the JEA.

According to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report, the thief cut the padlock on a transformer box at 3600 Beachwood Court. The report states the suspect then cut and removed the copper wire from the transformer to Baker's Sporting Goods.

It crippled production planned for the day. A JEA technician told police that the value of the wire is $800 but it will cost the business about $2,000 to replace.

Production manager Jufer said the crime must have taken place between 8 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday.

Mayor's Communications Director Arrested on DUI Charge

Mayor's Communications Director Arrested on DUI Charge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Communications Director for Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is facing a DUI charge in Bradford County.

Jail records show Abel Harding was arrested Saturday near U.S. 301 by the Hampton Police Department. He was booked on a DUI charge late Saturday, then released early Sunday.