PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A Panama City couple has been charged in the “sledgehammer” break-in of a local convenience store, as well as additional child abuse charges.
Crime scene analysts with the Panama City Police Department tracked the suspect vehicle, a white Nissan Titan truck, to 41-year-old Brooke Andrea Erwin and 32-year-old Rhett Mason.
Investigators said an individual used a sledgehammer to break into the VJ Mart on Frankford Avenue on November 12.
The pair initially told detectives that a juvenile was responsible for the break-in.
During a search of the truck, investigators found gloves matching those of the burglary suspect, and two tent bags the suspect used were found in the residence.
Police said the pair drove a juvenile to the Panama City Police Department to “confess” to the crime.
Upon further investigation, police said the juvenile told detectives he had offered to confess to the burglary, even though he had no part in the crime.
Detectives eventually charged Mason with burglary, two counts of possession of burglary tools, and criminal mischief.
Erwin was charged with principal to burglary, child abuse, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
According to officials at the Bay County Jail, Mason was released on bond Sunday afternoon.