PORT CHARLOTTE — Charlotte County Sheriff’s detectives arrested a man Tuesday for perjury and accessory after the fact involving an elderly Arcadia woman who had her purse stolen out of her car at a Deep Creek gas station Nov. 14. Arrested was Ryan Lashon Epting, 31, of the 1500 block of Abel Street, Port Charlotte. Detectives on Monday arrested Tony Curtis Goforth, 50, of the 3500 block of Beacon Drive, Port Charlotte, and charged him with burglary of a conveyance, grand theft, and fraudulent use of a credit card. Goforth remains in jail on no bond. The Arcadia couple called CCSO to report a man had stolen the purse at Murphy’s gas station, 355 Kings Highway. Detectives got a good description of Goforth and the license tag on a gold Buick SUV. The tag came back to Epting. Detectives went to his home, located the vehicle and interviewed him.
Epting at that time told detectives he was flagged down by a man named “Charles,” who said he needed a ride to the hospital. He said he did not know the subject’s real name, address or phone number and could not help detectives locate him. Epting did say “Charles” hangs out at the Harold Avenue Recreation Center to watch people play basketball. When detectives identified Goforth as the man who stole the purse, Goforth said Epting picked him up that day to hang out. He said he was not at the Murphy’s and had no involvement with the purse theft. He also denied using the stolen credit card at the nearby Shell gas station 20 minutes after the theft. Detectives located video surveillance from both gas stations that positively linked Goforth to the burglary and purse theft. Goforth also told detectives that he and Epting knew each other for months and hang out together to play basketball. Detectives searched Goforth’s cell phone and discovered several incoming and outgoing calls to and from Epting. Due to Epting failing to provide Goforth’s actual information, providing false information and Goforth’s cell phone calls dated prior to his interview, detectives arrested Epting and took him to the Charlotte County Jail. Epting posted a $6,000 bond and was released.
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