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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.

Dec 18, 2023

Two Lakeland men arrested for burglarizing a church and stealing $300 worth of food

Media Contact: Scott Wilder, Director

59-year-old Nelson Newman and 27-year-old Ronald McCain, both of Lakeland, were arrested and charged Saturday for burglary, theft, and tampering with evidence. Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives determined they were the two men who broke into an outbuilding at Christ Memorial Baptist Church in Lakeland early Friday morning and stole about $300 worth of frozen meat, Gatorade, and “Lactaid” ice cream. They loaded the stolen items onto a bicycle with an attached trailer.

Newman and McCain

Investigating deputies showed images of the bicycle and trailer to residents, which led them to an address on Meridian Avenue where they found McCain and Newman, the bicycle and trailer, several containers of Lactaid ice cream inside and outside the home, some left out, partially eaten, and a case of Gatorade.

One of the men inside the residence told deputies that Newman left the residence in the early morning hours and returned with large quantities of frozen meat and ice cream.

Both men refused to tell deputies the location of the stolen frozen meat. During an interview, Mr. Newman told deputies that he was lactose intolerant.

These two Grinches got caught stealing $300 worth of frozen food and Gatorade from a church. Both are not strangers to the county jail—Newman has 26 previous arrests and this is McCain’s 10th arrest. My guess is that if they showed up at the church and asked for help, they would have received it. Instead, they stole from the church and we took them to jail.” Grady Judd, Sheriff

Newman has 26 prior arrests in Polk County, including: robbery, robbery with a firearm, aggravated assault, theft, grand theft, loitering and prowling, burglary, dealing in stolen property, grand theft auto, drug possession, resisting with and without violence, driving while license suspended, criminal mischief, littering, reckless driving, DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident with damage. He has been to Florida state prison 6 times.

Ronald McCain has 9 prior arrests in Polk County including charges for methamphetamine possession, drug paraphernalia possession, knowingly driving while license suspended, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, and multiple failures to appear in court.