Couple arrested in high-dollar home burglaries

Sheriff says 9-time convict a 'professional burglar'

BAKER COUNTY, Fla. - Deputies in Baker County have arrested a couple in connection with six high-dollar home burglaries.

In one alone, about $150,000 worth of jewelry was taken.

Charles Cope, 35, and Julie Driggers, 43, were arrested and booked into the Baker County jail.

Cope is nine-time convicted felon who spent 12 of his 35 years in prison. He confessed to six burglaries in Baker County in the last six weeks, and 50-60 more in Duval County, deputies said.

They said Cope knocked on doors, and if no one answered he broke in. If they did answer, he claimed to be looking for his dog, deputies said.

"He is a professional burglar, he is the real deal," Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson said.

Investigators said Driggers met him in jail while visiting another male inmate in April.

Baker County deputies and Jacksonville police served a search warrant Wednesday morning at Driggers' house on Shellcracker Road on Black Hammock Island. Investigators said they found items valued at a half-million dollars.

Deputies said the two also had a pistol on them in Baker County when they were pulled over in a traffic stop under suspicion by Deputy Chris Walker.

"I noticed the passenger, Mr. Cope's stomach was going in and out very fast, he was very nervous," Walker said. "I saw jewelry and other stuff in the vehicle, he was anxious to give me any other information. At this point I realized I had the bad guys."

Cope had a semiautomatic MAC-10 with a silencer (pictured, above) on him when arrested, deputies said.

The sheriff says Cope used a crow bar and a baseball bat to break in houses, stealing guns, gold and electronics.

"We did find that he had pawned some items and sold gold to stores in Jacksonville," Dobson said.

Cope was being questioned in Duval County about the crimes there.

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