Man tried to rob home jewelry party, Lake City police say

Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.

A Lake City man was arrested Friday after police say he invaded a home and threatened a group of 15 women at a jewelry party with a handgun.

Derick Jeremy Lee, 24, of 864 NW Thetis Place, is suspected by police to have entered the home around 7:45 p.m. on Friday during a home party for Premiere Jewelry. Lee was wearing dark clothing from head to toe, including a dark bandana and dark ski cap, according to a Lake City Police Department report.

Lee pointed the handgun at the women in the home on SW Lakeview Avenue and told them to hand over their money and phones, police said. Then he threw a black bag on the ground.

Police said one woman thought he was joking and pushed Lee’s hand away, saying the gun was only a water pistol. Lee said he was not joking and threatened to shoot someone. He pointed the gun at one woman’s left temple and then at several other women.

The owner of home told the man to leave “in the name of Jesus,” police reported. Other women in the home followed her lead and began yelling the name, “Jesus.” The women told police that Lee stood in the house for a few more seconds and then ran out, empty-handed.

A short time later, a separate robbery attempt was reported at the Bank of America ATM at 355 SW Bentley Place.

A 62-year-old woman told police that a gunman wearing all dark clothing, a dark ski cap and a dark bandana approached her from behind while she was walking to her vehicle and demanded that she give him her money. She told police that she yelled at the man, who then ran toward SW Main Blvd.

K-9 officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission attempted to track the suspect, but were unsuccessful. Because of the proximity, timeframe and similar clothing descriptions, Lee is being investigated as a suspect for both crimes.

At 11:17 p.m., officers located Lee at his residence, two blocks from the jewelry party. Lee was arrested and booked at Columbia County Detention Center on a $200,000 bond on charges of home invasion and robbery.

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