Florida sex offender captured in Greenville

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005


The instincts that go along with being a veteran law enforcement officer helped Lt. Garry Martin capture a convicted sex offender on Independence Day.

Chester E. Webb of Kissimmee, Fla. was arrested on Monday and placed in the Butler County Jail after a check for outstanding warrants showed he was wanted in Florida.

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He had active warrants out for two counts of sexual battery with a child; two counts of lascivious molestation of a child, one count of using a child in a sexual performance and one count of false imprisonment.

Martin said everything began while he was doing routine patrol in the Sherling Lake area and noticed an odd looking camper.

"He had what looked to be Chevy van that had been made into a motor home," Martin said.

"And he was pulling a trailer that looked like he was hauling his life savings with him.

But the thing that really stuck out was that he had his tag covered up."

Martin said he visited the camping office and they said the man had paid for the site for a month.

"They described him a friendly-enough fellow," Martin said.

"But my instinct said to keep investigating."

When Martin ran the tag through the crime computers, it came back as belonging to a red Toyota pickup.

"This was no red pickup," he said.

He found Webb at the office and began to question him about his tag being wrong.

"He said the tag was wrong because he had bought the vehicle and had not changed the tag over," he said.

"He was really cordial the whole time."

Martin said Webb couldn't seem to remember his Social Security number, his first name or middle name.

"Finally, the computer came back with a hit and I found out his name was Chester E. Webb and that he was wanted in Florida," Martin said. "I went back up to him and said 'You lied to me,' and he said 'You got me.'"

Martin said he cuffed Webb and took him to the Butler County Jail where he remains awaiting extradition back to Florida.

He would not give specifics, but he said Webb had enough money in his possession to live on the run for a while.

"I'm just happy to get this guy back behind bars," Martin said. "I despise anyone who commits crimes against children, so getting him off the streets is a good thing."

Chief Lonzo Ingram praised Martin for his work and said the situation could have been worse.

"It seems like every time you turn on the news, you hear about a sexual predator who has kidnapped a child or killed a child," Ingram said.

"We are certainly glad to have him off the streets of Greenville and on his way back to Florida to serve his time."