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KEY WEST, January 16, 2020 – An Illinois man who vandalized a car at a Key West resort, causing thousands of dollars in damage, then absconded from supervised probation has been ordered to Florida State Prison.
Preston Whiting, 28, of Kewanee, Illinois, was sentenced by Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones on January 9 to 16 months in state custody after he admitted violating probation. Assistant State Attorney Christine Poist represented the state.
On July 26, 2018, Whiting pleaded no contest to criminal mischief with damage of $1,000 or more. Judge Jones gave him 48 months of probation, which he was allowed to serve in Illinois. But he violated numerous terms of it, including failing to report to his probation officer for weekly check-ins from July through September 2019.
After a judge issued a warrant, he was arrested in Illinois on October 22, 2019, and transported back to Monroe on November 15 to again face the judge. As part of his sentence, Whiting must pay the $2,075 it cost to bring him back to Monroe.
Whiting was arrested on the underlying charge on January 29, 2018, at the Pier House Resort, 1 Duval Street. About 4 a.m. that day, Key West police responded to a disturbance there and found Whiting, who was here on vacation with his brother and a friend, in the parking lot. His friend, who owned the 2012 Toyota Camry that was damaged, then arrived and told police he was sleeping and was “woken up by a disturbance and his door being kicked in.” He went outside and saw the damage to his car.
The front bumper was missing, both side-view mirrors were broken off, the passenger-side tail light was busted and two tires were flattened.
A resort security guard told police that while on his rounds, he heard banging in the parking lot and saw Whiting vandalizing the car. Whiting was arrested but did not say why he vandalized the Camry.
Besides absconding from supervision, Whiting violated probation by testing positive for methamphetamine, failing to inform his probation officer he moved from his residence and falling more than $1,400 behind in restitution payments; he owed a combined $3,670 to the victim and his insurance company.