Sledgehammer burglary suspects charged

Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 2:35 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Panama City Police Department has charged two people who used a sledgehammer to break into a local store.

Officials said on November 12th, a sledgehammer was used to break into the VJ Mart on Frankford Avenue. Detectives and crime scene analysts report they were able to identify a suspect vehicle.

Investigators said they tracked a white Nissan truck to a Panama City couple, Brooke Erwin, 41, and Rhett Mason, 32.

Officers said the pair initially told detectives that a juvenile was responsible for the break-in. But during a search of the truck, investigators said they discovered gloves matching those of the burglary suspect, along with two “EZ-Up” tent bags the suspect used were found in the residence.

Investigators said the duo drove a juvenile to the Panama City Police Department to “confess” to the crime. However, as the investigation continued, the department said that the juvenile told detectives he had offered to confess to the crime, although he had no part in the burglary.

On Saturday, Mason was charged with burglary, two counts of possession of burglary tools, and criminal mischief. Erwin was charged with principal to burglary, child abuse, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Both were booked into the Bay County Jail.