JUST IN: Park Vista football player faces another gun-theft charge

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Park Vista High School football standout Jake Collins has been charged a second time this week with burglarizing guns and other items from homes in suburban Lake Worth, according to jail and court records. 

Collins, a senior who had signed to play at Duquesne University, now is charged with stealing from a home near his own that’s been empty since its owners died. Judge Ted Booras ordered him held without bail during a bond hearing Friday at the Palm Beach County Jail. 

He was booked at about 5 p.m. Thursday into the Palm Beach County Jail, just 38 hours after he was released at 3 a.m. Wednesday on the previous charge of burglarizing the home of a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy. 

In the first case, Collins is accused of having stolen guns and jewelry Friday from the deputy’s home, about a mile away from where Collins lives.

Investigators say they recovered the deputy’s weapon and two others from Collins’ closet at his home. The 18-year-old pawned some of the jewelry to shops in the Boynton Beach and Lake Worth areas, the sheriff’s report said. The victims reported the theft after they returned home Monday afternoon.

The report said Collins confessed to taking three firearms from the home and investigators found three in his closet. He said he’d already sold one he had taken from the deputy. 

Investigators said they then found Collins had pawned items that didn’t come from the deputy’s home: a gold necklace, a 55-inch television, and a high-end watch. And they had the problem of the fourth gun, a revolver he said he bought on the street. 

Then an acquaintance of Collins told investigators that Collins had shown him a gun he said he stole from a nearby home whose owner had died.

Investigators checked the neighborhood for recently deceased owners and found a home that had been vacant, but not yet emptied, since the owner died at age 90 in February. The man’s wife had died in 2016. 

The trustee, a 28-year-old granddaughter who lives in Naples, told investigators she still was cleaning out the home and settling the estate. She said she last had been there about three weeks earlier but a niece had been there two weeks before the break-in. She said her grandfather did own a gun; its description matched one found in Collins’ home. 

Deputies searched the couple’s home and found that the TV and the gun were not there, and that a jewelry box had been rifled.

The granddaughter told investigators she did not know Collins. Contacted Friday by the Palm Beach Post, she declined to comment. 

Booras ordered Collins held on one charge of armed burglary of a home, three charges of grand theft of a firearm, and one charge each of dealing in stolen property, fraudulently pawning items worth $300 or more and grand theft of between $300 and $5,000.

Officials of Duquesne, a private college in Pittsburgh, said this week the school was aware of Collins’ first arrest and that officials there were gathering information before deciding his status. Collins originally had committed to the University of South Florida in Tampa before choosing Duquesne. 

Collins is the Palm Beach Post’s No. 16-ranked football player in the Class of 2018. He was an All-Area honorable mention selection for the Cobras last season. He finished his career at Park Vista, a suburban Boynton Beach school, with 142 tackles, 10 interceptions, five forced fumbles and eight pass break-ups.

Staff writers Julius Whigham II and Jodie Wagner and staff researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this story.





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