JUST IN: Park Vista football player faces charge he stole firearm

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A Park Vista High School football standout was arrested on charges of armed burglary and theft of a firearm late Monday, just months before his college career was to get underway.

Jake Collins, a senior athlete who had signed to play at Duquesne University, is accused of stealing a gun and jewelry from the suburban Lake Worth home of a Palm Beach County sheriff’s officer, according to a sheriff’s report.

Investigators say they recovered the officer’s weapon and two others from Collins’ closet at his home. The 18-year-old pawned some of the jewelry to shops in Boynton Beach and Lake Worth, the sheriff’s report said.

Collins appeared in court Tuesday morning, where a judge set his bond at a total of $32,000 on the charges he faces, which also include fraud, larceny and dealing in stolen property.

A woman who identified herself as Collins’ mother stressed to the judge that the incident was her son’s first offense.

“He’s a good boy,” she said. “I don’t understand.”

Duquesne, a private college in Pittsburgh, said it was aware of Collins’ arrest. Jerry Schmitt, the school’s head football coach, said the university would gather more information before deciding on his status.

“I’m very disappointed,” Park Vista coach Brian Dodds said of Collins’ arrest.

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 Park Vista career with 142 tackles, 10 interceptions, five forced fumbles and eight pass break-ups.

The PBSO report said Collins broke into the suburban Lake Worth home Friday. According to the sheriff’s report, he was caught on video removing the screen to the garage window, opening the window and then entering the home. After leaving the home, he got into a waiting car and drove away.

The theft was reported Monday afternoon after the victims returned home. Collins was apprehended at his Lake Worth home after he was identified as the suspect.

The report said Collins confessed to taking three firearms from the home — a gun with the PBSO insignia on it, as well as a silver revolver and a semiautomatic handgun — and that officers would find the first two in his closet, along with what the report called “an additional firearm which he purchased from an unknown associate off the street that may or may not be stolen.”

Investigators found the three guns in the closet. Collins told them he had already sold the semiautomatic gun taken in the burglary “to an associate for $100 cash,” according to the report.

PBSO also found that Collins on Saturday had pawned for $20 a $1,500 man’s watch he took from the home. Collins also told authorities he took two pairs of Beats headphones from the home and that he had given both to friends, according to the report.





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