NORTH PORT — A second man was arrested in connection with the theft of weapons and equipment from a Sarasota County Sheriff’s cruiser, authorities said.

Among the weapons stolen were a sniper rifle.

James Tolbert Jr., 18, of the 5100 block of Bullard Street, North Port, was arrested Thursday.

Tolbert faces charges of possession of the officer’s handgun and selling the weapon, according to the sheriff’s department.

His arrest followed an arrest of David Byrd Jr., 18, of the 8300 block of Scanlon Avenue, North Port, in connection to the robbery.

The theft allegedly happened Monday night in North Port.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Detective Brian Keane left his unmarked vehicle unlocked. Inside the vehicle were his Sig Saur 226 duty weapon, an Accuracy International AT308, a carrying bag, night vision scope, medical bag, an undisclosed amount of ammunition and several other items, reports show.

Keane is an 18-year veteran of the sheriff’s office and has spent a decade on the SWAT team.

Authorities said Byrd was trying to sell the AT 308 for $300 when detectives met with him.

When investigators arrived at Byrd’s home in North Port, they said he showed them where he hid the items taken from Keane’s car.

Byrd was arrested Thursday morning and was booked into Sarasota County Jail on a $31,500 bond.

Byrd is facing two counts of larceny from a law enforcement vehicle of over $300; two counts of dealing in stolen property; and tampering with evidence.

Tolbert was also arrested on Thursday after detectives said they learned that he was in possession of the Sig Saur 226 and had sold the stolen firearm to a friend. Detectives were able to get the firearm from an identifiable source and confirm based on the serial number that it was the Sig Saur stolen from Keane’s vehicle on Monday, according to reports.

Detectives located Tolbert at a relative’s house where they conducted a search of his bedroom.

In the bedroom, officers found a 9mm Lugar bullet; Tolbert was arrested by detectives shortly after.

Byrd was previously arrested in December 2017 in North Port for “car hopping,” which is when a person enters cars and steals items of value.

Tolbert has been arrested two times in Sarasota County in 2018. He was arrested Jan. 8 for armed burglary after he allegedly broke into a home in North Port.

Tolbert, along with Dalvin Roberts, are accused of robbing a home on the 5800 block of Talbrook Road.

Authorities allege Tolbert and Roberts entered the home through an open sliding glass door and demanded the homeowner hand over more than $3,500 that was on the counter.

After the pair took the money, they left the home and told the victim “don’t call the cops, or we’re coming back.”

A relative of Talbort identified him as the one who committed the crime after hearing him talking about “licks” — “licks” refers to committing burglaries.

According to the Sarasota County Clerk of the Courts Office, Tolbert was also arrested in Venice on Jan. 11 for driving with a suspended license and reckless driving. Tolbert had tried to flee from police after his vehicle was stopped in Sarasota, authorities said.

At the time of the arrest, Tolbert was already was on felony probation for the burglary.

Tolbert is facing two counts of violation of probation for larceny of less than $5,000 but more than $300 and burglary of an unoccupied building, as well as dealing in stolen property and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. He is being held on a $22,500 bond.


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