Update 3/16/2023: The 10th Judicial Circuit States Attorney Brian Haas has dropped the charge regarding dealing in stolen property. We reached out to LWPD and they advise the investigation is ongoing. Here is the initial arrest affidavit:
Lake Wales Police Department Press Release
On Friday February 17, 2023 Lake Wales Police Detectives received information that stolen property was being stored at 254 N Miami Street in Lake Wales. Detectives went to the location and obtained permission from the property owner to search for stolen items. During a lengthy search of the heavily wooded property, Detectives located stolen property valued at over $400,000. The stolen property included the following:
Two Ford Cobra Jet drag race cars valued at approximately $100,000 each, along with a two-story Haulmark car hauler trailer stolen from Lake Placid, which had been reported to Lake Placid Police.
A 32 foot Avenger travel trailer, an 18 foot open trailer and a Polaris ATV reported stolen to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office taken from Highway 60 East of Lake Wales.
A 23 foot Skeeter bay boat reported stolen from Manatee County.
A 16 foot Fisher bass boat reported to Bartow Police.
An enclosed trailer containing household furniture reported stolen to the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.
Various lawn equipment, power equipment, tools and other items.
During the initial investigation, one subject, Billy Joe Byrd, age 51 from the Lake Wales, was arrested for dealing in stolen property and transported to the Polk County jail. There are other suspects in the case with more charges expected as the investigation continues. Detectives from Lake Wales are working with investigators from other agencies to bring charges on all those involved. Detectives are also asking for assistance from anyone with knowledge of the thefts and suspects to contact Police, you may be eligible for a cash reward.
If you have information regarding this case that is not an emergencyplease contact Detective David Arana at 678-4223. Or, if you would like to stay anonymous and be eligible for a CASH REWARD through Heartland Crime Stoppers:
• Call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477)
• From your cell phone, dial **TIPS
• Visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,”
• Or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.