2 Palatka teens charged with armed burglary

By Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 04:55:01 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 06 2014 07:39:53 PM EDT

More than a dozen guns were stolen in Putnam County. Now police have arrested two teenagers - 16-year-old Jataveis McHellen and 15-year-old Jerome Oxendine are facing charges in at least two burglaries.

PALATKA, Fla. -

Over a dozen guns stolen in Putnam County are now on the street after a pawn shop was broken into twice in less than a week.

Palatka police arrested two teenagers early Wednesday morning in connection with two burglaries, including one of the two break-ins at Foxy's Pawn, off State Road 20.

Officials with the Palatka Police Department believe 16-year-old Jataveis McHellen and 15-year-old Jerome Oxendine are responsible for at least two break-ins -- one at Foxy's Pawn and another at John's Games, off State Road 19 -- about seven blocks from the pawn shop.

Police said the teens were recognized by an officer from a surveillance video of the John's Games burglary, and they were arrested after they tried to run.

They are each charged with two counts of armed burglary, two counts of grand theft and two counts of criminal mischief.

PPD Assistant Chief James Griffith said police are also looking for another possible suspect, but they aren't sure at this point if the two teens acted alone.

Between the two break-ins at the pawn shop, 14 guns were stolen, including revolver handguns and .22-caliber rifles.

Several electronics were stolen from the game shop, including three iPhones, an iPad and a flat-screen television.

Griffith said now the most important part of the investigation is getting the stolen guns off the street.

“If we have reason to believe they're being hidden by someone somewhere and we have enough probable cause to get a search warrant, we may have to go that route,” Griffith said.

Taylor Summers works at Tangles Hair Salon, a couple of doors down from the pawn shop. She said people in the area typically feel safe, but burglaries like these make them extra cautious.

“We have an alarm system, and we try to make sure all the doors are locked and everything is safe and secure,” Summers said.

Griffith said one of the teens told investigators they sold at least one of the guns to someone who lives in Palatka and that the person was planning to sell the gun or guns to someone else.

Police said the game shop has an alarm system but there was some sort of lag, which could explain how the teens got away with so much merchandise.

Police said the teens got into both businesses by breaking windows.

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