Teens bring guns to Columbia High School, steal from vehicles

Teens bring guns to Columbia High School, steal from vehicles
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 2:29 PM EDT
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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) - Three teenagers suspected of committing a rash of vehicle burglaries were arrested during a traffic stop after firearms were brought onto the campus of Columbia High School.

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Devon Welch, 18, Dillon Welch, 17, and Rickey Curlin, 16, during a traffic stop on Tuesday. Deputies found the teenagers with a large number of guns, ammunition, and other items connected to several vehicle robberies.

The arrests followed an incident at the Columbia High School parking lot during orientation. Deputies said two of the suspects were in possession of a firearm on the school campus. During an argument in the parking lot, one of the teenagers briefly showed a weapon.

“Determining exactly who did what so they know exactly who to charge with what,” said Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, Stg. Steven Khachigan. “Variations of the burglary charge, if any of those guns were involved in it they could be enhanced just from a regular burglary, unarmed to burglary while armed.”

“So those are some details that are probably still being ironed out.”

Deputies find a large number of guns and likely stolen items during traffic stop.
Deputies find a large number of guns and likely stolen items during traffic stop.(CCSO)

Detectives had been investigating vehicle burglaries in several neighborhoods throughout the county. Detectives asked the public for help on social media and citizens provided home surveillance footage that linked the teens to the crimes.

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“I am so proud of our community for working with us to solve these crimes,” said Sheriff Mark Hunter in a statement. “This shows what can be accomplished when citizens work together with law enforcement. I also want to thank our detectives and school resource deputies for working so quickly to ensure school safety. We take any report of a weapon on our school campuses seriously and will work aggressively to keep our children safe.”

Devon Welch, 18, was booked into the Columbia County Jail on charges of burglary, larceny, and petit theft. Dillon Welch and Rickey Curlin were taken to the juvenile detention facility in Gainesville.

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