Ricky Lee Collins, a licensed bail bond agent in the state of Florida, was charged with criminal conspiracy and two counts of burglary.
KISSIMMEE – Three people associated with not only upholding the law but working behind the scenes to assist law enforcement ended up in jail this week, including two bail bonds agent and a civilian employee at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The two bail bonds agents, Clinton Joe McCarthren, 59, of 410 Lionel Ave. in Orlando and Ricky Lee Collins, 46, of 1220 22nd St., Orlando, were known for providing the surety as bail for a person who would be appearing in court to face criminal charges. Now in the Osceola County Jail facing theft charges, they may need to look to their old colleagues for help.
Bond agents have a standing security agreement with local court officials. They agree to post a bond, which will pay the court if any defendant that the bond agent is responsible for fails to appear before the judge. Bond agents generally charge a fee of 10 to 15 percent of the total amount of the bail required in order to post a bond. That fee is not refundable and represents the bond agent’s compensation for their services.
McCarthren and Collins became the focus of an investigation several months ago, when the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office’s Tourist Policing Unit began looking into a series of burglaries at local motels. The U.S. 192 corridor in Osceola County, from Kissimmee to Celebration and Four Corners, has a lot of hotels and motels that are a quick drive to the major theme parks.
Detectives arrested McCarthren and Collins today. With the assistance of the Community Response Team West and Orange County Sheriff’s detectives, investigators say they were able to observe McCarthren and Collins as they broke into several motel rooms, stealing personal property.
Search warrants were issued for their homes – and detectives found a lot there, too, said Twis Lizasuain, public information officer for the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
“At Collins’ residence, detectives recovered 31 laptop computers, more than 10 digital cameras, cell phones, luggage and jewelry,” Lizasuain noted in her report on the arrests.
Clinton Joe McCarthren was placed in the Osceola County Jail today.
Collins, a licensed bail bond agent in the state of Florida, was charged with criminal conspiracy, two counts of burglary, and grand theft.
McCarthren was charged with grand theft from a dwelling, two counts of unoccupied burglary, two counts of criminal mischief, and grand theft.
“The investigation is on-going,” Lizasuain said, “with additional charges pending. McCarthren and Collins were booked into the Osceola County Jail.”
A day earlier, on Thursday, April 12, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was accepting the resignation of one of their own – an employee they subsequently arrested for filing a false report to law enforcement.
Heather Johnson, 26, of Winter Haven, had been a civilian employee with the sheriff’s office. She was charged with one count of false reporting to law enforcement regarding a capital felony.
Heather Johnson was a civilian employee at the Polk County Sheriff's Office when she got charged with filing a false report.
Carrie Eleazer, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, said it started when Johnson made an allegation against her father.
“Johnson told detectives that when she was five years of age, she was sexually battered by her biological father, and that she had not had contact with him since,” Eleazer said.
Detectives opened an investigation into Johnson’s charges, but after interviewing numerous sources, began to have doubts about her story.
“After conducting a full investigation and interviewing all parties involved, detectives again interviewed Johnson, who admitted she lied about what she had reported,” Eleazer said. “Johnson resigned immediately upon her arrest.”
She was booked into the Polk County Jail Thursday night.
“Before her arrest and resignation, Johnson was most recently assigned as a telecommunications shift supervisor,” Eleazer said. “She originally worked for Polk County Fire/EMS as a dispatcher, and was hired in July 2010 as a Polk County Sheriff’s Office telecommunicator just prior to the joint Polk County Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center becoming operational.”
It’s not clear why Johnson fabricated the allegations.

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