BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Christian Eugene Thompson, 28, was arrested yesterday and charged with grand theft of a firearm, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis, loitering and prowling, driving without a valid license, and attaching an illegal license plate to a vehicle. He was on pre-trial release on similar charges from last February.
A Gainesville Police Department officer who was patrolling at Chase Hollow Apartments because of an uptick in car burglaries reported that he saw Thompson driving a Kia Rondo; Thompson reportedly sat at a stop sign for more than 30 seconds with no apparent reason, and the officer wrote that it appeared he was trying to prevent the officer from seeing his license plate. The car drove into Chase Hollow and parked, then the driver got out and waved at the officer. As the officer drove away, he reportedly saw the driver get back into the car and back it into the same parking spot.
The officer drove back toward the car, and the driver reportedly waved at him again and then approached the patrol car “aggressively.” He reported that the driver became very agitated and upset, saying the officer was following him and harassing him. The officer said he was conducting an increased patrol, and the driver said he did not need any assistance.
The officer walked past the driver in an attempt to get the license plate number from the car, but the driver reportedly covered the plate, saying the officer didn’t have probable cause to look at it. The officer replied that he did not need probable cause to look at a license plate; the driver reportedly removed the license plate from the car and held it behind his back, then began to shove the license plate into his pants and started walking away.
The officer, now believing that the car was stolen, told the driver that he was not free to leave. He reported that the driver gave conflicting answers about why he was in the apartment complex but ultimately could not provide names or addresses for the people he claimed to be visiting at 3:50 a.m. The driver also reportedly avoided giving his name to officers and initially claimed he didn’t have any identification but eventually produced a Florida ID card and was identified as Thompson.
Thompson was detained, and a .380 round of ammunition was found in his pocket in a search incident to arrest. A license plate was also retrieved from his pants. Officers reportedly saw a bag of marijuana in plain view on the floor of the car, and a Ruger .380 handgun with a full magazine was found in the glove box. The gun had been reported stolen in Bradford County.
The previous owner of the car reportedly said she had scrapped the car and that she did not know Thompson.
Thompson was arrested last February and charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of a concealed firearm without a permit, and driving without a valid license. His lawyer made a motion to reduce his bond because he qualified for treatment services, and he was released on his own recognizance. However, by August, Thompson had failed to submit any documentation that he had received mental health treatment services, and in September a sworn complaint was filed for obstructing law enforcement after his cell phone was seized because officers believed it contained evidence related to a homicide; Thompson allegedly continued to jump in front of their cars, trying to prevent officers from leaving the area with his cell phone.
A pre-trial release violation report was filed in August for failing to document compliance with the requirement for treatment services, and Judge William Davis ordered that the matter be addressed at his next court appearance. Thompson’s bond in the February case was revoked yesterday because the September sworn complaint violated the standard pre-trial release condition that a defendant must not break the law.
Thompson has a juvenile history starting when he was 8, and he also has criminal convictions in another county. He has five local misdemeanor convictions. Judge Walter Green set bail in this case at $23,000, but Thompson will be held without bond for now in the previous case.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.