Time runs out to prosecute man on theft of military equipment

Baker County resident didn't face Clay County judge in time to stand trial

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

MACCLENNY, Fla. - A mix-up within the Baker County Sheriff's Office led to a man accused of stealing over $100,000 worth of sensitive equipment from a military base walking away without doing any time for the crime.

Alan Tanner Jr., a Baker County resident who once served in the Florida National Guard, was arrested on burglary charges in November 2015, accused of taking night-vision goggles and thermal-imaging sights. Clay County even held a news conference to announce his arrest.

Tanner also was accused in thefts of property, including guns, across northeast Florida and southern Georgia.

While Tanner was serving 10 months in prison on a Baker County conviction, the clock was ticking for him to face a judge on the Clay County charges.

When he was finally brought to Clay County for a hearing on the Camp Blanding case, the judge ruled that since Tanner hadn't come to trial within 175 days, the state's speedy trial deadline had passed, the case had to be dismissed. Tanner was be released.

The newly elected sheriff of Baker County, Scotty Rhoden, admitted it was their problem.

"I hate that someone got off for something that he should have been prosecuted for because of a mistake that we made," Rhoden said. "What we should have done is, basically, complete our county charges, let the court system do that, then once he was released from our jail, we would have served those out of county warrants."

News4Jax learned that Tanner was also facing charges for burglary in Charlton County, Georgia. That agency has not returned call to see if the Baker County delay affected those criminal charges.

Tanner was not at his last known address in Glen St. Mary on Wednesday, but his neighbors were talking.
"I don't know why he's back out on the street after taking guns. After stealing anything, really," neighbor Larry Rosenblatt said.

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