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Cape man makes 10 Most Wanted

By Staff | Nov 2, 2011

A Cape Coral man sought in the disappearance of his grandfather has been added to Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers’ 10 Most Wanted list.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Garrett Kern, 24, of 3519 S.W. 29th Ave., on the charges of grand theft auto. According to officials, he fled the area with a 2009, dark grey Volvo S80 that belonged to his grandfather.

James Arthur, 80, also of 3519 S.W. 29th Ave., was last seen Thursday morning leaving the probation office in downtown Fort Myers with Kern. His grandson had had a probation appointment that Arthur had driven him to.

According to police, Kern was seen later that afternoon at the BA Hustlers Pool Hall on Santa Barbara Boulevard South. He was driving his grandfather’s Volvo, but Arthur was not with him. The vehicle has the Florida tag A057QX.

While at the Cape pool hall, Kern reportedly made statements to people present that gave rise to concern for the welfare of his grandfather.

Kern has since been named a person of interest in the disappearance.

On Friday, the Cape police announced that someone who they believe to be Kern attempted to use one of Arthur’s credit cards at 5 a.m. that morning at a gas station in Gainesville. The card used to buy gas was declined.

Authorities believe that Kern has fled the area and could be in Illinois.

On Sunday, Cape police searched Caloosa Lake and the wooded area surrounding it on foot. They used cadaver dogs and searched the lake with boats. The state preserve area adjacent to the lake was also searched.

“This area was searched because investigators learned that Garrett Kern liked to visit this area recreationally throughout his life,” Lt. Tony Sizemore, the spokesman for the Cape police, wrote Monday in a prepared statement.

“The search, however, turned up no leads,” he said.

Kern was raised by the Arthurs and has been with them since he was 3.

Kern is no stranger to law enforcement, according to Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers. He has numerous felony arrests that date back to age 15, when he was picked up on weapons and burglary charges. As an adult, Kern has been jailed six times in the last two years on drug to theft charges.

On Aug. 12, he was arrested for numerous counts of burglary and theft, officials reported. He was released from jail Thursday on those charges.

Cape detectives are working in unison with the U.S. Marshal’s Office.

Anyone with information can contact the Cape Coral Police Department at 574-3223, or submit a tip by texting “CCPD” plus the message to CRIMES or by visiting: www.capecops.com. Tipsters can also contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at (800) 780-TIPS (8477) and be eligible for a cash reward.