Click Here for ADA Accessible Format

Polk County Sheriff’s Phone# 863-298-6200

If in an emergency Dial 911

Polk County Sheriff Facebook Polk County Sheriff Twitter Polk County Sheriff Instagram Polk County Sheriff Youtube

Hit enter to search or ESC to close

News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.

PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

Aug 16, 2023

Lakeland store clerk arrested for selling alcohol to a 17-year-old

Media Contact: Alicia Manautou, PIO

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a clerk at a Lakeland Shell store on Tuesday, August 4, 2023, after she sold an alcoholic beverage to a 17-year old.

It was the only arrest Tuesday by deputies who were visiting multiple stores along with a 17-year old boy who was attempting to purchase alcohol at each stop.

The visits were a part of the ongoing PCSO campaign called Operation Pop Top. The goal is to ensure that all stores comply with state law regarding the selling of alcohol to only those who are 21-years of age and older. 

The 17-year old is a member of the PCSO Explorers, a program for high school students who are interested in a career in law enforcement.

In total, the PCSO deputies made six stops at stores in Lakeland and Mulberry. 

49-year old Laxmi Rajbanshi, who works at the Lakeland Shell store at 4693 Lathloa Loop, was arrested and charged with Selling Alcohol to a Person Under 21, a misdemeanor. 

"I am pleased with the five clerks who refused to sell alcohol to the minor. We will continue to carry-out these visits--it's our duty to ensure these stores are compliant with Florida law. The safety and wellbeing of the children of Polk County is ultimately what is at stake." -  Grady Judd, Sheriff