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Cover 04/17/2013

Cash for stolen gold

Do Florida’s pawnbroking laws further victimize victims of crime?

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A


“The guy had me in tears at the hospital,” she says. “This is actually the day of [the incident], as a matter of fact, and he’s accusing me of lying and not being truthful and I was in tears. And finally my mom had to come in because I was so upset. He was like, ‘Why didn’t you call 911, why didn’t you call the ambulance?’ He said, ‘Your room looks like a war zone, there were bullet holes in the wall, shattered glass. I don’t see how you didn’t notice that.’ Well, my room paint was dark red, I wasn’t looking for bullet holes. … It was in the middle of the night.”

Her cell phone was taken from her so officers could go through her messages and call her contacts. Fencl was initially seen as a potential suspect and taken to the Casselberry police station for questioning.

“At the station I was asked about Shelly’s ex-boyfriends and ex-husband; whether they had any arguments and if they were prone to violence,” he says in a written account of the incident that he sent to Orlando Weekly in early April. “[The officer] inquired if I owned a gun or had one at home, and I mentioned that I was in possession of a World War II Japanese rifle that had belonged to my father. (Later that day I learned that they had come to my home and confiscated the rifle, even after they knew the shell casings belonged to a .44 caliber Glock.) I was returned to my car, given a gunpowder residue test, and then released so I could return to the hospital to check on Shelly’s condition.”

Noblett says it wasn’t until one of the officers – Detective Erin Willis – questioned her one-on-one after she’d awoken from surgery to repair her arm that police finally seemed to believe that Noblett was telling the truth about not knowing who did this to her or what, exactly, had happened. Later that day, Fencl says, Willis called him and told him that the initial investigation had been completed. He wasn’t a suspect anymore. It seemed like Noblett and Fencl could just focus on getting her better while the police did their work.

Then they found out that her townhouse had been burglarized while she was in the hospital.

Two days after Noblett was released from the hospital, Fencl went to her home to check things out. “He called me and said, ‘Shelly, your hatbox is missing,’” she says. “I’m 46 years old, and I’ve acquired a lot of jewelry in my life, and I kept it in this round box that he called my hatbox. It was my jewelry box.”

She went to the condo herself and found that most of her jewelry was missing – heirloom pieces, 18-karat-gold necklaces, diamond earrings, watches, pendants, rings. She estimates the value of the missing items at around $10,000. She called the police, and according to the report Casselberry police filed on the incident, the officer called to investigate was concerned that the incident could be related to the shooting. So he contacted Detective Willis, who mentioned that, while police were investigating the shooting, some neighbors were present and it was possible “that they knew the house was unsecure” after police left.

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