Detectives seek help locating wanted teen in connection with guns for drugs operation


During the months of March and April, Indian River County Sheriff’s Detectives Chris Lester and Ruben Bermudez were assigned to investigate a residential burglary where two firearms were stolen. As a result of that investigation, the detectives identified several auto burglaries that also included firearm thefts. They were able to determine that five local teens, with ages ranging from fifteen to nineteen, were responsible for the burglaries.

Shawn Newman (17), and Samuel Tecsi (17) both of Vero Beach, were arrested and charged with residential burglary, grand theft of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor, dealing in stolen property, and violation of probation. Newman was also charged with auto burglary and additional counts of theft and possession of a firearm. During their interview both admitted the burglaries and told detectives that their motive for stealing firearms was to trade them to Michael Smith (19) of Vero Beach, for drugs. The teens said that Smith provided them with marijuana and marijuana wax in exchange for stolen firearms.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Smith’s apartment in the 6900 block of 26th Street. Smith was arrested and charged with dealing in stolen property, four counts of possession of a firearm by a delinquent, possession of an altered firearm, possession a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Also arrested during the search warrant was Smith’s mother, Kimberly Smith, on four counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar stated, “Getting these teen delinquents off the streets helped clear up a number of auto and residential burglaries for our agency and the Vero Beach Police Department. Our detectives did a fantastic job with this investigation, which should serve as a warning to those who think they can get away with burglaries in Indian River County. Make no mistake about it, we will find you and we will put you behind bars. This case should also serve as a reminder for our residents who chose to leave firearms in unlocked vehicles. These teens were able to easily access these guns through unlocked car doors.”

As part of this investigation, detectives have recovered six firearms, 437 grams of marijuana, 400 grams of marijuana wax, 103 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms, 94 hydrocodone pills, 29 grams of cocaine, 9 grams of flakka, 4 Xanax pills, and one marijuana plant. Detectives estimate the street value of the seized narcotics at just over $50,000. Michael Smith is being held at the Indian River County Jail on $222,000 bond. Newman is being held on $185,000 bond. Tesci is being held without bond, and Kimberly Smith was released on $8,000 bond.

Detectives are seeking the help of the public to located wanted teen Gavin Lovett (17) of Vero Beach. He is wanted on charges of absconding and violation of probation. Lovett also faces pending charges of auto burglary, grand theft of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor, and violation of probation as a result of this investigation. Detectives have pending charges for another fifteen year old teen and know that other were involved in this case. Anyone with information about this case or the location of these teens is encouraged to contact Detective Chris Lester at 772-978-6188. You can remain anonymous by contacting Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-TIPS (8477) or through their website at You may be eligible for up to $3,000.00 reward if your tip results in an arrest.

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