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Ocala woman accused of burglarizing cousin’s house

Shellby Lynne Hunley

A 23-year-old Ocala woman was arrested nearly a month after she allegedly stole more than $10,000 worth of stuff from her cousin’s house.

Shellby Lynne Hunley was picked up June 16 on a felony warrant for grand theft of between $750 and $20,000. The warrant was issued in connection with a burglary reported May 21 at a residence on SE 68th Street. Marion County Jail records show Hunley has seven prior arrests, including one in March for retail petit theft, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug equipment. She was also jailed in May 2018 on shoplifting and drug charges.

The burglary victim told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy she went out around 10 a.m. on May 20 and returned the next morning to find someone had entered her residence through a garage window that was previously nailed shut. She went inside and found numerous items missing, including a gold “Invicta” watch stored in a yellow lock box, an orange “Dooney & Bourke” purse, a silver backpack with orange trim, an Apple watch and other items worth a total of $7,547, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The victim said her cousin, Hunley, might have burglarized the residence based on her stealing from her in the past. A deputy observed tire tracks on the east side of the driveway and an open gate that the victim said was closed when she left. The deputy spoke with several neighbors, including one who said he saw a Gray Mazda CX-5 in the driveway of the incident location between 12:30 and 1 a.m. May 20. The witness said he saw light from a flashlight near the vehicle and heard a female voice, but he didn’t see the suspect, the report said.

The victim contacted the sheriff’s office later and said she was able to track the location of her Apple watch to 12006 SE Highway 484 in Belleview. The victim said she went to the location, identified as Top Tech, and saw the Mazda that was described by the witness. A computer check of the vehicle tag showed it is registered to a holding corporation operates a Budget/Avis rental agency. A detective contacted the rental agency and discovered the vehicle was under a rental contract with Hunley, according to the report.

Deputies responded to the location and were unable to make contact with the owners of the property. A deputy looked into the rear window of the Mazda and observed yellow “Invicta” box, an orange “Dooney & Bourke” purse, a silver backpack with orange trim and an Apple watch, among other items. The deputy also saw mail inside the vehicle addressed to Hunley, the report said.

The deputy took photos of the items and sent them by text to the victim, who confirmed the items were hers. The vehicle was towed to the Evidence Division at the sheriff’s office and a search warrant was granted the following day. The victim was present during the search and positively identified all the items she reported missing as well as several items that were not reported, according to the report.

Most of the recovered items – which had a total value of $10,266 – were found in the trunk area near Hunley’s driver’s license and personal mail. The deputy was unable to reach Hunley by phone and an arrest warrant was issued, the report said.

In addition to the grand theft charge, Hunley was charged with giving a false ID to law enforcement, burglary of a dwelling and larceny. She’s being held on $41,000 bond and will appear in Marion County Court on July 8 on the false ID charge and July 21 on the rest of the charges.

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