Sumter suspects charged with burglary during ‘state of emergency’


WEBSTER, Fla. – Two suspects accused of kicking in the door of a Sumter County home Tuesday evening to steal hurricane supplies were arrested on charges of burglary during a “state of emergency.”

Ricky Aron Bentley, 35, and Kassandra Michelle Stewart, 25, both of Bushnell, also were charged with property damage.

According to an arrest affidavit, Sumter County sheriff’s deputies responded to 72 County Road 663 in Webster just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to a burglary in progress involving a couple and found Stewart and Bentley at the scene.


Bentley fled, but was caught.

As Sumter County continues to recover from Hurricane Irma and the 10 inches of rain it produced there, its commissioners voted Tuesday night to extend the county’s state of emergency.

Bentley reportedly admitted to deputies he knew the house was vacant and entered the residence to seek shelter and find valuables he could use. The affidavit adds deputies believe Bentley intended to steal valuables he could use during the storm, but the list of specific items were unavailable from the sheriff’s office on Wednesday.

Bentley also allegedly had brass knuckles, a pipe with methamphetamine residue inside as well a vehicle stolen out of Pasco County. He also was charged with possession of drug equipment and a weapon by a convicted felon as well as vehicle theft, loitering and failure to appear in court.

On Wednesday evening, Stewart remained in the Sumter County jail without bail and there was a hold for Bentley in Hernando County.