A Lakeland woman took it upon herself to remove weapons from her estranged husband’s apartment and turn it in to police. However, she was arrested for her efforts.
According to Courtney Irby’s arrest affidavit, she was arrested and charged with grand theft of a firearm and armed burglary after turning in the weapons she stole from her estranged husband’s Lakeland apartment.
Her husband, Joseph Irby, stated that he wanted to press charges and that his wife did not have permission to enter his apartment.
This followed Joseph’s arrest after an incident last week at the courthouse parking lot in Bartow.
“(He) followed behind her in his vehicle and began ramming his vehicle’s front bumper into the back of the victim’s rear bumper. He then began screaming and yelling at her,” the affidavit read.
Joseph was charged with domestic aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
While in jail, Courtney broke into his apartment, which she had never been in before, and stole the weapons.
When she turned the weapons in to police, an officer asked her: “So you are telling me you committed armed burglary?”
“Yes I am but he wasn’t going to turn them in so I’m doing it,” she replied.
“We have to safeguard every citizen’s rights. When a case is brought to us, we have to look at all sides of the cases and come to the fairest conclusion we can for everyone involved,” Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia said following an outcry on social media after her arrest.
Speaking to 8 On Your Side, Chief Garcia stated that he wasn’t aware of any incidents when Lakeland PD officers responded to the Irby home.
However, Courtney told police that she had taken out several restraining orders against her husband in the past, including a temporary injunction that was in effect at the time of her arrest.
“We’re grateful for the support that she’s gotten. This has been one of the toughest things she’s ever had to do. She’s strong and she has a lot of love. We’re there for her whatever she needs,” Haley Burke, Courtney’s sister, told 8 On Your Side.
“It’s such a fine line when you’re in fear of your life,” Dr. Linda Parker, director of victim services at Peace River Center, said.
“We do live in an area where you can have a license to carry. We really encourage our survivors to talk to police, talk to authorities to let them know that’s a palpable fear,” Parker added.
Through a risk protection order, a new Florida law allows police to seize guns from people deemed to be threats to themselves or others.