JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - The I-TEAM has obtained documents revealing new details in the investigation into the vandalism of retired NFL player Lito Sheppard's car and his former teammate Jabar Gaffney, who's accused of the crime.
Last month, the I-TEAM showed you surveillance video from a parking lot in Jacksonville Beach, where two people were caught on video June 17 causing at least $14,000 worth of damage to Sheppard's BMW.
Sheppard turned to the I-TEAM in the hopes our viewers could help identify the people seen prying open the gas cap of his BMW, pouring something inside, and then slashing all four tires. This happened while Sheppard was having Father's Day dinner with his wife at a restaurant near the pier. Weeks later, a warrant was issued for Gaffney's arrest on a charge of felony criminal mischief.
The I-TEAM obtained that arrest warrant Thursday, and for the first time, learned about specific evidence obtained by Jacksonville Beach Police during its initial investigation of the vandalism.
According to that warrant, a detective went to the dealership where Sheppard's vehicle was towed and was able to obtain a fuel sample from Sheppard's car along with the fuel door and gas cap so they could be processed for fingerprints and DNA evidence.
The warrant also states surveillance video from the Jacksonville Beach parking lot shows the vandals driving a black Audi, noting they were there from 8:27 p.m. to 8:57 p.m. June 17.
The warrant later notes that surveillance video recorded in Gaffney's Jacksonville neighborhood on the same day shows a black Audi driven by a female with Gaffney as the passenger leaving the neighborhood at 7:09 p.m., roughly 90 minutes before the vandalism occurred.
As far as the amount of damage done to Sheppard's car, a service advisor at the dealership told the detective that $14,000 in damage was done, but said there could be additional costs if the fuel system has to be replaced.
Even though Gaffney lives in Duval County, the I-TEAM learned he actually turned himself in to the Baker County Sheriff's Office July 6, the day after his arrest warrant was issued. Gaffney was booked and released the same day on a $30,000 bond. He is expected to be arraigned in Duval County on that felony criminal mischief charge July 26.
Gaffney is also still facing a civil matter with this case. Following the vandalism, Sheppard asked for and was granted a temporary injunction for protection against Gaffney. Sheppard told the court he was concerned about his family's safety. The next hearing on that injunction is scheduled for July 24.
The I-TEAM reached out Thursday to Gaffney's attorney Seth Schwartz for comment. We have not heard back, but Schwartz previously told the I-TEAM his client denies any involvement in the vandalism of Sheppard's car.
"Jabar Gaffney has no clue why this is happening because he hasn’t seen Lito Sheppard in three years. He (Gaffney) is getting aggravated because his name is being drug through the mud nationally and he is innocent.”
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