April 1, 2014

Three arrested in connection with gun thefts

Sheriff’s detectives in the Upper Keys arrested three men in connection with two armed burglaries last week. The guns stolen during the crimes were recovered during the course of the investigation.

The first burglary took place the afternoon of March 26th at a home on Meridian Avenue in Key Largo. 23 year old Matthew Berry and 25 year old David Pothier stole a Glock handgun, an AR15 rifle and a pellet rifle from the home while the homeowner was out of town. They also stole his Ford F150 pickup truck. The truck was found a short time later, destroyed by fire in Florida City. The two men tried to sell the guns to a man who lives on Azalea Street in Tavernier that same afternoon. He refused to purchase the guns. The following day, his home on Azalea Street was also burglarized by Berry and Pothier, who stole a 12 gauge shotgun and a lap top computer from the home.

Detectives Ian Barnett and Robert Dosh were assigned to investigate the crimes. During the course of their investigation, they identified Berry as a suspect and spoke to him several times on the phone in an attempt to have him surrender and return the weapons safely. Berry refused to cooperate. A notice to be on the lookout for him and his vehicle – a Chevrolet 2500 truck – was issued to agencies in South Florida. He was located at a home in Homestead on March 27th. He was taken into custody with the help of Homestead Police.

During interviews with Berry, he identified Pothier, known to him as “DJ”, as his accomplice in the crimes. A third suspect was also identified as David Gilliland. Information led detectives to believe Gilliland was in possession of the stolen firearms. On the afternoon of the 27th, Gilliland was seen driving his white Ford Mustang near the 89 mile marker of the highway. He fled from officers southbound, but was apprehended after a short chase by car and on foot. He told detectives the guns were at a residence in Islamorada and they were recovered without further incident.

Parts of this investigation are still ongoing and Florida City police are currently investigating the arson case in which the truck was destroyed. Berry is in custody in Miami-Dade County on a Monroe County arrest warrant for armed burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.  Pothier was arrested in Monroe County on charges of being a principle to armed burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Gilliland was charged with fleeing and eluding police, driving with a suspended driver’s license with knowledge and possession of cocaine. He will most likely also face charges of possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

“Our detectives did an outstanding job of quickly recovering these stolen weapons and apprehending the suspects involved,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “Having these weapons out on the street was dangerous for our officers and for the public and I am happy to report they are now secure and won’t be in the wrong hands.”

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