Following a WINK News investigation into a shirtless man breaking into the Naples Police Department, the chief sat down with WINK to explain how it happened.
The suspect scaled a fence, got inside, showered and took off with police gear.
Police Chief Tom Weschler said repeatedly that it was a fluke, but he would not get into specifics. The Naples city manager, however, says there was a technological issue with the door.
The suspect did not force his way in, and the city and police department are working to make sure what embarrassingly happened once does not happen again. But how could someone get into the Naples police station and, for 40 minutes, make himself at home to the extent of showering without getting noticed?
“It was a complete fluke. I mean, it’s something that we’ve never experienced before, I don’t think you’ve ever heard of a police station getting broken into. So, it was unusual,” Weschler said.
Weschler used the word “fluke” 10 times during the interview on Wednesday. When WINK News talked with the suspect, 36-year-old Joseph Moulton, he said he was so drunk and high that he couldn’t remember the early morning of April 8.
WINK News asked Weschler if someone who broke in, perhaps without being under the influence, could have gotten access to guns, real badges, drugs or evidence critical to prosecuting upcoming cases.
“Absolutely not… we have a number of different access points into… like, he could only go a certain area, then he would have had to gone through other security measures to get there,” Weschler said. And he couldn’t do that. So he was just kind of trapped within that one little area there where he could not get to our property room, can’t get to communications, can’t get to our armory.”
What about the fact that Moulton spent at least 40 minutes inside the police station and clearly showed up on surveillance cameras?
According to Weschler, no one monitors them 24/7; instead, his officers are where he wants them to be: on the streets.
“Let everybody know: We do have a very secure city; our crime is down over 19%. We just had an accreditation process where we came out with high marks, and our city is a safe city, and the citizens are secure,” Weschler said.
Someone with access to that security footage, who likely works for NPD, sent WINK News pictures of Moulton walking around in a towel, a stolen uniform and a bulletproof vest. Weschler was asked if it troubles him that someone with access to the security cameras sent those screen grabs.
“Sure, it does. Yeah, there are disgruntled people everywhere. And, unfortunately, we have somebody who has too much time on their hands… it’s not productive in any way. And it’s troubling, actually, you know, we wish they would use their time for positive things,” Weschler said.
The Naples Police Department sends WINK News logs of criminal incidents and arrests. But the department did not disclose what happened inside its station on April 8, or anything on Moulton’s arrest.
Weschler says some things get taken off the log.
“We take serious, sensitive matters off, and I wanted to make sure that we had all the information before we put something out on this,” Weschler said.
WINK News began working on the story before the chief responded to what happened at the station, thanks to an anonymous tip.
Weschler was asked why he waited more than two weeks to speak to WINK about what happened. He says NPD’s public information officer is there to address the media.