Gateway Sun

Following up on the September 2016 armed robbery of the 7-Eleven on Gateway Boulevard, one of the suspects has been sentenced for his role in the crime.

There were conflicting reports at the time as to whether there were a total of two or three suspects involved. However, only one suspect had been arrested as of our most recent inquiry to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Darrell Tremaine Griffin, who was 19 during the robbery, was captured on Hampton Park Court in Gateway after banging on the door of a home not long after the 2:00am robbery. He told the home’s occupant that he had been robbed and was being chased, but once LCSO officers arrived on the scene they clearly didn’t buy Griffin’s story.

Griffin was on foot because their getaway vehicle had crashed on Griffin Drive, not very far away from the 7-Eleven.

Griffin pled guilty to committing the robbery, and was given a 10 year sentence as part of a plea deal according to court records.

In another case, Patrick Francis Majewski was much luckier in his court proceedings.

You may recall that Majewski was a security guard at the Stoneybrook community, when he decided to steal a resident’s bike and then pawn it.

The bike’s owner located the bike at a Cape Coral pawn shop and contacted the LCSO. Under police supervision, the bike’s owner contacted Majewski and agreed to buy their own bike back for $150.

Majewski agreed and set up a meeting with the owner, while LCSO officers set up a sting operation.

Majewski was arrested at the exchange meeting, but after being placed in an LCSO cruiser he managed to escape. He didn’t make it far and was quickly re-apprehended by the LCSO.

For stealing the bike, dealing in stolen property twice (once with the pawn shop, once trying to sell the bike back to the owner), and escaping police custody, Majewski was staring at 51 years in prison.

He was sentenced, however, to just three years probation. Majewski did spend a few months in the Lee County Jail, however, as he was never able to make bail while awaiting trial.

break-line

There’s a couple lessons to be learned here.

We’ll start with Majewski.

Now, the guy is clearly a goof. But he didn’t deserve to spend over 50 years in prison for what he did.

That said, I’m surprised that after escaping from the police car that he wasn’t handed at least some jail sentence for that alone. Maybe the judge felt that with Majewski unable to make bail that the time he spent in county lock-up was what he would have been sentenced to anyway.

Hopefully we’ve seen and heard from Majewski for the last time.

The case involving Griffin is just sad.

The young man robbed a 7-Eleven with a gun. He deserves his 10 year sentence.

And if he was 29 instead of 19 I’d feel no pity whatsoever. But that guy is going to spend one of the best decades of his life in one of the worst possible places and I don’t care what anyone says – he did not fully realize the risk he was taking.

Knowing myself today at 42 years old, I wouldn’t have the nerve or stupidity to rob a gas station.

But me at 19? You know, looking back, I probably had enough of each.

Of course, at 19 I was serving in one of the combat arms of the Canadian Army, so I’m quite certain my crew back then would have planned and executed something like that a whole lot better than Griffin and his pals did. But my point is that at 19 years old my mindset was totally different than any other time in my life.

Even at that young age you obviously realize that spending 10 years in jail would suck, but your mind isn’t developed enough to truly grasp the full ramifications on what that 10 year experience will mean during that time, and for the rest of your life.

Don’t get me wrong… it’s important to punish Griffin harshly. There were petrified victims of his crime. And there’s a message to send to society that if you pull a gun, 10 years is probably the minimum sentence you’re looking at.

But at the same time, there’s an opportunity to learn from Griffin’s mistake.

And that is to keep a closer eye on your older teenage children. All it takes is one dumbass in your child’s circle of friends, and some peer pressure, and kids can get caught up in the moment and do things for which they have no true concept of the long-term consequences.

And finally, in response to the reader who wanted coverage of recent criminal activity in Gateway – and specifically recent “robberies” (I think he meant thefts)…

As we all know, Gateway is not some utopia separated from society. In fact a truck was just stolen in the community I live in (Cypress Pointe) not that long ago.

But I’ve had my vehicle broken in to in Gateway, Lehigh Acres and Ottawa, Canada.

These things happen every day no matter where you live. And no matter where you are, it rarely makes the news despite these being daily events.

Here is the brief conversation with the reader…

Reader: All the robberies in our community and no mention about it?
Sun: I’m sure plenty of other areas in SWFL would offer to trade us crime rates without even looking at the statistics first..
Reader: Ahhh I see! Thanks. You deemed It not news worthy based on that? Ok. Got It

He’s right. I guess I deemed the recent thefts “not news worthy” this time.

And quite honestly, the whole Majewski thing wouldn’t have warranted a story either if the guy wasn’t a security guard in the community.

This publication will cover all major crimes, and from time to time we’ll cover a rash of vehicle thefts or things of that nature.

But it’s not a priority.

Honestly, to me, a broken in to vehicle is about as surprising as a broken sprinkler head. And equally interesting to write about.

At the end of the day, we’re an extremely fortunate community and I don’t see the need to spend e-ink highlighting petty crimes when statistically we’re one of the safest communities in SWFL.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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