Missing gun turns up inside toilet in a Port St. Lucie hotel
By Zach Smith
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
JENSEN BEACH — A key piece of evidence leading to the arrest of a Port St. Lucie man turned up by accident when a detective attempted to fix the man's toilet, according to an affidavit released by the Martin County Sheriff's Office.
Martin County Sheriff's Detective Carlo Sciandra was investigating the theft of a handgun, jewelry and cash from a home in the 3700 block of Adriatic Way in Jensen Beach on Dec. 18. He was given information stating a suspect in the case was staying at a Port St. Lucie Holiday Inn in the 10100 block of U.S. 1.
Sciandra and Port St. Lucie Police detective Joseph Galino found the suspect, 21-year-old Robert Joseph Murray Jr., in the hotel room where they were told he was staying. During an interview, Sciandra asked to use Murray's bathroom and Murray gave him permission.
According to the affidavit, Sciandra used the restroom but the toilet would not flush. When Sciandra took the cover off the tank to see if he could correct the problem, he discovered the missing handgun and three magazines with bullets were lying on top of the valve flap.
Sciandra said finding the gun was a complete surprise.
"I guess it was just dumb luck," he said.
According to the affidavit, Murray originally claimed the gun was given to him by the victim of the theft as collateral for unpaid debt. After turning himself in Monday night, however, Murray admitted to stealing the handgun and other items from the victim, according to the affidavit.
Murray, of the 2500 block of Southwest Kaycee Court, was booked into the Martin County Jail and charged with grand theft and grand theft of a firearm. His bond has been set at $5,000.