Crime

Florida Keys deputy was suspicious about couple sleeping in their car. He wasn’t wrong

David Shane Shupert
David Shane Shupert Orange County Sheriff's Office

An astute Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy nabbed an Orange County man with a long, violent criminal history who recently skipped out on his probation in the Orlando region.

David Shane Shupert, 46, was sentenced to life in state prison in December 2009 after a home invasion in which he and two other men dressed as Orlando police officers and robbed the people inside at gunpoint. A judge modified his sentence in December 2017 to 11 years with credit for more than eight years served.

Shupert was released from prison in August 2018, but still on probation for three more years, according to Orange County court records. His probation officer went to check in on him in late January, but he was not at his house. The Florida Department of Corrections issued a “Violent Offender of Special Concern” warrant for Shupert’s arrest on Jan. 28.

Shupert’s felony record goes back to 1998, including an aggravated battery charge in April 2000 after he beat a man to death.

Monroe Deputy Zachary Eason found him early Wednesday morning, shortly after 1 a.m., sleeping in a car parked on the side of the road near the Bahia Honda Bridge in the Lower Keys. A woman in the passenger side of the car opened the door for Eason when he knocked on the window, according to the deputy’s report.

The woman told Eason that the car had overheated earlier. The man with her, later identified as Shupert, woke up and asked Eason if it would be OK if they stayed put for a few hours to sleep.

Eason responded by asking the man for his driver’s license. After rummaging around in the vehicle for about five minutes, Shupert said he could not find it.

He told Eason his name was Edward James Lunsford, and he was born on Nov. 13, 1970. That name came back after a records search as “clear,” as did the woman’s, so Eason told them they could stay until later in the morning.

About an hour later, however, as Eason was looking through his call notes, he found an Edward Lunsford was wanted in Orange County. On the warrant, corrections officials state Edward Lunsford is one of several aliases Shupert has used. The suspect in the warrant had the same tattoos Eason saw on Shupert.

Eason drove back to the car and asked Shupert to get out. He noticed the teardrop tattoos on his face that were listed in the warrant. Eason asked him if his name was David Shupert. Shupert responded that it was and he knew there was a warrant out for his arrest for violating his probation.

Eason arrested Shupert without incident, according to the report.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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