(North Lakeland, Fla.) - A man who left a note on the front door of a deputy sheriff’s residence after vandalizing the deputy’s patrol car twice, vandalizing his personal vehicle and stealing items from both was arrested Friday. He also burglarized and vandalized another property in the area. The note on the front door read: "The Joker is here! Jokes on you, Bitch." The man arrested is 22-year-old Matthew James Lash of Arrowhead Boulevard in South Lakeland. He has been charged with 2 counts of burglary, 2 counts of criminal mischief (over $1,000 damage), 2 counts of petit theft, burglary of an occupied dwelling, firing a weapon into a structure (bb-gun), improper exhibition of a weapon (bb-gun), carrying a concealed weapon or device, 2 counts of Criminal mischief (under $1,000 damage), tampering with evidence, and burglary conveyance.
Lash threw concrete blocks and concrete landscaping rocks at the patrol car early Tuesday morning (7-9-13) causing $1,129 worth of damage (shattering a window) and stole a rechargeable Maglite flashlight from within the patrol car. Lash also broke out the windows of the deputy’s personally owned pickup truck causing $1,769 worth of damages.
The second incident occurred early Friday morning. A man living in the same neighborhood reported that someone was attempting to open the sliding glass door into their bedroom. As the man started to investigate, someone (later determined to be Lash) threw a landscape rock through their Florida room sliding glass door (causing $3,000 worth of damage). As the residents investigated further, they heard loud noises coming from the area of Matthew Lash’s residence on Arrowhead Road. They also noticed that the deputy’s driver’s side window was broken out a second time.
Deputies arrived and found Lash out in the street with a bb-gun rifle; he was acting erratically. He was ordered back to his home but later came out with a box cutter. He was then taken into custody. The note was also found on the front door of the deputy’s residence.
During interviews with Lash, he admitted to the vandalism and burglaries. He later told deputies that he was drinking, got angry, and that he holds no ill will towards the deputy. Lash was transported to the Polk County Jail where he is being held on no bond pending first appearance.