Suspect caught in theft of Polk deputy’s firearm
A convicted felon has been arrested in Temple Terrace in the theft of an off-duty Polk County deputy’s firearm as she walked into a Publix last weekend. Damarius Antwun Matthews, 22, was arrested about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday by Tampa police and the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force at 8713 North 48th St., Apt. A, Temple Terrace. He was booked into the Polk County Jail. The deputy’s firearm and credentials are still missing. Police are asking that anyone with information on the items call Winter Haven police Sgt. Mitch Meadows at (863) 287-8214 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at 800-226-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward. The case started about 6:55 p.m. Saturday when off-duty Polk deputy Regina Hulverson was walking into the Publix at 884 Cypress Gardens Blvd. in Winter Haven, according to police.Matthews came up and grabbed her purse, which contained her department badge, credentials and .380-caliber Ruger in a holster, police said. He was seen getting into a rented 2013 silver Mazda that headed south on 8th Street S.E., police said. The vehicle has been impounded. The warrant charges Matthews, whose criminal history goes back to 2006, with robbery, grand theft of firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and petit theft, Winter Haven police said.