Lakeland, FL –-(Ammoland.com)- A 32-year-old Lakeland, FL woman was arrested by the Lakeland Police Department for burglary of a dwelling and grand theft of a firearm.
While Joseph Irby was in jail for a domestic battery charge against his estranged wife, Courtney Irby, broke into his apartment and stole all of his firearms. She brought the guns to the Lakeland Police Department to turn into the police.
Irby, 32, admitted to stealing the firearms to police. According to an affidavit in the case, she said her husband tried to run her over and knew he was not going to turn in his handgun and AR-15, so she decided to break into his apartment to steal them. She told police that she feared for her life.
“So you're telling me you committed an armed burglary?” the officer asked her.
“Yes, I am, but he wasn't going to turn them in, so I am doing it,” the officer said she responded.
Irby broke into the apartment through a locked door. Police verified that she didn't have permission to be there. According to the police affidavit, Ms. Irby never had been to the apartment until the break-in incident.
Police made contact with Joseph Irby, incarcerated at the Polk County Jail, to see if wanted to press charges against soon to be ex-wife. He decided to file charges against Courtney Irby. She was arrested on the spot.
According to the police affidavit on June 14th, 2019, the Irbys got into an argument after a divorce hearing. When the parties were leaving the court, Joseph Irby, allegedly rear-ended his wife several times. While she was on the phone with 911, Irby then tried to run his wife off the road. Police would arrest him for domestic battery and grant Courtney Irby an emergency restraining order against her husband.
Local politicians have championed Irby's case. Democrat Rep. Anna V. Eskamani Tweeted that by prosecuting Ms. Irby that it would set a “scary precedent.” She called for Polk County State Attorney Brian Haas to drop the charges against the woman.
In Eskamanis letter, she claims that law enforcement does not have the tools to enforce federal laws that prevent domestic abusers from having guns. She claims that women are five times more likely to be murdered if the abuser owns a firearm.
We just sent a letter to Polk County State Attorney Brian Haas to not move forward with the prosecution of Ms. Irby.
?Prosecuting Ms. Irby sets a scary precedent that if someone seeks help to escape abuse, they will be punished for it. We refuse to accept that standard. pic.twitter.com/gEnT5TYTBN
— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani ?? (@AnnaForFlorida) June 24, 2019
Andrew Warren, State Attorney in Hillsborough County, said his county disarms domestic abusers. He states that domestic abusers have legally given up their gun rights. He claims that Hillsborough County would not prosecute Ms. Irby because they “stand with victims.”
Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia pushed back against criticisms of his department to WFLA.
“We have to safeguard every citizen's rights,” Garcia said. “When a case is brought to us, we have to look at all sides of the cases and come to the fairest conclusion we can for everyone involved.”
Polk County Sheriff's Office explained that his department would not seize firearms unless the owner turns them over, or if there is a court order. In the case of Joseph Irby, there was not a court order.
According to Joseph Irby, His wife also stole a third gun that she did not turn into police. There is no information on the recovery efforts of the third firearm.
Courtney Irby spent four days in jail before posting a $7000 bond.
About John Crump
John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement, including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.