A former Lee County commissioner has been charged with grand theft after officials say he drove away from a Fort Myers KMart that had been burglarized by a man who fled store officials when confronted.
Brian Bigelow, 49, of Fort Myers, was charged with grand theft more than $300 less than $5,000 after Lee County sheriff's deputies stopped the Jeep Cherokee he was driving northbound on McGregor Boulevard shortly before 5 p.m. Monday. Deputies say it matched the description of the vehicle that left the KMart Shopping Center parking lot at a high rate of speed carrying a man reportedly seen stealing jewelry from a display case.
Deputies reported that Bigelow, and the passenger in the vehicle, David Alexander Henley, 19, of Estero, both appeared nervous and that Henley had dropped "two medical syringes onto the ground" as deputies approached.
A gold chain, its price tag still attached, was seen in the passenger seat Henley vacated at the request of the deputies, arrest reports state.
As deputies handcuffed Bigelow, who had reportedly became belligerent, Henley fled only to be apprehended a short time later.
Henley, who was identified by store officials as the person who had committed the theft, was charged with grand theft greater than $300 less than $5,000, resisting an officer obstruct without violence, possession of drug paraphernalia and an active warrant for violation of probation for possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and drivers license violation.
It was not the first time the two had a joint run-in with the law.
Last November Bigelow was written a criminal citation for allowing an unauthorized person - Henley, then 18 - to drive a motor vehicle. According to arrest reports, the two were stopped by deputies after leaving a reputed drug house. Henley admitted that he had a "nic bag" and retrieved from his pants a small plastic bag that contained a brown and green leafy substance. The substance later tested positive for THC. Henley was taken into custody and charged with operate motor vehicle without valid license, marijuana possess not more than 20 grams and, at the Lee County jail, cocaine possess when the drug was found on his person.
Bigelow was not charged with any drug-related crimes in the incident.
In January, however, Bigelow was arrested for possession of more than two grams of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and loitering outside an apartment complex in Fort Myers.
Bigelow was released Tuesday on $3,500 bond.
Henley remained in custody in the Lee County Jail Tuesday evening.