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Homicide Investigation

On October 10, 2013, at approximately 6:30 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 215 West Belmar Street in reference to a Strong Armed Robbery. The victim, John J. Papay, 83, called the police department from his residence to report the robbery. Papay stated that he went for his morning walk and was struck from behind at least once in the head causing him to fall to the ground. An unknown suspect then took his wallet and Papay stated that he only got a glimpse of the suspect and could not identify him.

Papay was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center for treatment due to a severe head injury he received from the robbery. The case was assigned to Violent Crimes Detective Tim McDonald. Detective McDonald worked the case reviewing all potential evidence. On January 29, 2014, Detective McDonald  contacted the a family member of Papay to see if there was any improvements in his condition at which time Detective McDonald was informed  that Papay had passed away while in care at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center on December 18th, 2013.  The hospital advised the detective that Papay had died due to unrelated causes not related to the robbery.

The Medical Examiner was notified and ruled the death of Papay was the result of the injuries he received in the robbery. The Lakeland Police Department then notified the State Attorney’s Office that the robbery had transcended into a homicide.

No other details are being released at this point and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Lakeland Police Department at 863-834-6900, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477.

• Reported to LPD on 10/10/13
• Papay dies in the care of LRMC on 12/18/13
• LPD Det. McDonald notified of death on 1/29/14


Officers Honored with Heroism Award

        

Today, Monday, February 3, 2014, Officers Jamie Smith and Kevin Parker were honored at the City Commission meeting where they received the City of Lakeland Heroism Award.

Lakeland Fire Department Fire Inspector Shannon Turbeville submitted the officers for this award in recognition of their actions. Fire Inspector Turbeville wrote in his nomination, “Lakeland Fire Department had a motel room involved with fire at the Hyatt Place of Lakeland on November 23, 2013 at approximately 10:15pm. The 2nd floor of the motel had smoke and the room involved was charged with smoke and the sprinkler system had activated. These 2 officers were the first to arrive on the scene before the fire department and unselfishly went to the fire floor and announced an evacuation of all the guests and went to the room where the fire originated and made sure the occupants were evacuated. They met us at the lobby and informed us of the situation, secured a master key for us and assisted us further in a room by room evacuation of the fire floor.”

At the commission meeting, Officers Smith and Parker were presented with the Heroism Award by Mayor Wiggs and Sergeant Harper.

Thank you for your dedication and Congratulations on this award!


Officer Nicholas Pollice Injured in Accident

On January 31, 2014, at approximately 6:31 p.m., Officer Nicholas Pollice was on duty and driving in a marked police car in a non-emergency mode when he was involved in an accident. Officer Pollice was southbound on Massachusetts Avenue at the intersection of Plum Street. A vehicle driven by Emilo M. Gonzalez, 49 years old, was westbound on Plum Street and after stopping for the stop sign, he drove into the intersection entering the officer’s right of way causing the accident.

Officer Poliice was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center for a broken right wrist. Gonzalez was not injured and he was issued a non-criminal citation for Approaching/Entering Intersection.


Roof Top Burglary

On January 29th, sometime 11:00pm, unknown suspects entered the business, Painting with a Twist, 3670 Harden Blvd by going through an access point on the roof. Once inside this business, the suspects cut a hole in the drywall and entered Midas Jewelers, 3666 Harden Blvd. After gaining access into Midas, the alarm was disabled and the suspects gained entry into the safe. An undetermined amount of jewelry was stolen from the safe and display cabinet.  An inventory is being conducted at this time and there is no estimated dollar amount available.

Detectives and Crime Scene Technicians processed the scene of both businesses and the rooftop collecting evidence. Anyone with information should contact Det. Neal Robertson at 863-834-6971.