DAVENPORT — Last April, Yvonne Williamson Baumann was working at the Davenport Police Department as the property and evidence custodian. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, she also took a special interest in a firearm that was brought into the station by a civilian.
On Friday, Baumann was also arrested. The charge was grand theft, and the item that Polk detectives say led to her arrest was that gun.
Baumann, 54, of 111 Uncle Pete Circle in Haines City, was officially charged with grand theft of a firearm, and she was booked late Friday night into the Polk County Jail.
According to Donna Wood, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s office, last April Baumann was employed by the Davenport Police Department as an administrative assistant who would oversee the storing of property and evidence.
The firearm in question had been brought into the Davenport Police Department by an elderly man and his adult son, Wood noted.
“The owners wanted to relinquished the Taurus.38 Special for destruction,” Wood said, but added that Baumann immediately appeared to have taken a liking to the gun.
“When the men presented the firearm, Baumann offered to buy the weapon,” Wood said. “The owners declined and asked that it be destroyed.”
Wood noted in her report on the case that Baumann is reported to have removed the gun from the agency’s Property and Evidence storage room last June, “placing it into a lunch bag she transported to and from home multiple times.”
It appears she may have transported it one too many times.
Last month, Baumann was terminated from her job for what Wood said were “unrelated matters” having nothing to do with the firearm.
“Upon her separation from the agency, she collected her personal property to include the lunch bag containing the firearm,” Wood noted.
After she left the department, the Davenport Police Department discovered that the firearm was missing from the department’s Property and Evidence inventory. Davenport Police Chief Sammy Taylor requested that the Polk County Sheriff’s Office conduct an investigation into the disappearance of the weapon.
It turned out to be a short investigation. When a Polk County Sheriff’s Office detective questioned Baumann about the location of the firearm, Wood reported that she quickly turned it over.
“She walked into the kitchen of her residence and retrieved the firearm from a recyclable grocery bag, and handed the gun to the detective,” Wood noted.
Baumann was then arrested on the theft charges.
Local sheriff’s offices, including Polk, often hold gun buyback programs, offering local residents gift cards for gas or for local supermarkets if they turn in any unwanted guns.
The aim is to get those guns off the streets, where they could be used in the commission of a crime, and have them destroyed. These guns are not used by the police departments once they’ve been turned in during the buybacks.
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