3 charged in burglaries of camps

Published 1:22 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Three arrests have been made in the case of burglaries and thefts in the Bradley community.

Louis Allen Scott, a 30-year-old homeless man, was involved in a high-speed chase with Alabama and Florida law enforcement agencies that ended with his arrest on Dec. 19.

Scott is being held in the Okaloosa County Jail on other charges, while awaiting extradition to the Escambia County Jail, where he is being charged with three counts of both burglary III and theft of property II.

Shane Bonifay, 41, of Goat Road in Wing, was also arrested in connection with the burglaries. Bonifay was charged with making a terrorist threat after threatening sheriff’s deputies while being arrested for three counts of burglary III and three counts of theft of property II on Dec. 6.

He has been released from the ESCO Detention Center on a $25,000 bond.

Dustin Mitchell Palmer, 21, of Bradley Road in Wing, has also been arrested in connection to the burglaries and is being charged with three counts of burglary III, two counts of theft of property I and one count of theft of property II.

In November, The Star-News reported on thefts from a hunting camp in the Bradley area that belonged to Forrest Sibley, who died will on active duty in Afghanistan in 2015. His father and grandfather, Brent Sibley and Raiford Sibley, had developed the property as Forrest Sibley planned, and expected to host some of his military friends this year. That changed when thieves removed almost everything from the camp. Raiford Sibley said Tuesday the family has been contacted by deputies, and it is believed some of the items taken have been recovered.

It was that burglary and others that led people in the area to hold a community meeting about how they might stop the burglaries.

Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said the arrests were due to the diligence of the sheriff’s office and the Bradley community.

“I want to commend the people of the Bradley community for standing up for what’s right,” Lambert said. “It was a combined effort of law enforcement and the community that made these arrests happen.”

Law enforcement officers went to Bonifay’s residence after learning he had a failure to appear warrant out of Baldwin County and found several stolen items from the camp houses in the residence.

Scott became a suspect following the search of Bonifay’s residence.

On Dec. 19, Lambert said he obtained warrants for Scott’s arrest. Deputies, along with Florida Fish and Game, were in route to a rural campsite in the national forest in Florida, where Scott was living, to arrest him when they met him driving down the highway in a small Toyota truck and attempted the make a traffic stop.

Lambert said Scott fled into Covington County and then into Okaloosa County. Deputies pursued but terminated the pursuit at the Florida line because Scott was not continuing at a high speed. They continued to follow the vehicle at a safe distance, and Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies intercepted Scott near Kennedy Bridge Road, where Scott exited his vehicle and fled on foot.

Lambert said law enforcement officers set up a perimeter, and the K-9 tracking teams from Okaloosa County prison were called. Scott was later caught and arrested.

According to Lambert, the case remains under investigation. More arrests are expected to follow.

Anyone with information can contact the tip line at 251-809-2154 or on escambiacountysheriffal.org.