Wanted Fugitive and Brother Captured by PACE Unit and US Marshals

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The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Problem Area Crime Enforcement (PACE) along with the United States Marshals Service (USMS) have captured a wanted fugitive who had evaded capture for over two weeks.

On September 7, the Flagler Beach Police Department responded to the area of 620 S Daytona Avenue in Flagler Beach in reference to a report of a suspicious person possibly armed with a handgun. Flagler Beach Police Officers engaged with the suspect, Michael Benkert, who was able to evade capture and flee from the scene. Several FCSO units including the Community Policing Division, PACE, K-9, and Drone Units responded to the scene to assist with the search, however, after several hours he remained unable to be located.

On September 8, a warrant was issued for Michael’s arrest for Armed Trespassing, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Improper Exhibition of a Firearm, and Resisting an Officer Without Violence.

A Be-On-The-Lookout (BOLO) was posted to social media and several tips were received regarding the possible location of Michael. On September 17, a report was received that Benkert was in the area of McDonald’s near Old Kings Road and SR-100. Deputies responded to the area several times after the initial report to search the nearby transient camps to no avail.

On September 25, the FCSO PACE Unit joined forces with the USMS to locate Michael. Michael was located by PACE and the USMS at Circle K near Pine Grove Drive and Belle Terre Parkway. Although he attempted to flee on foot, he was quickly apprehended and arrested.

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In addition to his Flagler County warrant, Michael was also a fugitive from Volusia County for Bond Revocation on several narcotics-related charges and other crimes. Michael is being held at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility (SPHIDF) on $55,000 bond.

Michael was found with his twin brother Anthony Benkert. Anthony advised law enforcement that he was aware that his brother was a wanted fugitive. Anthony also advised they had been hiding at a Pittson Lane residence in Palm Coast. It was later determined that Anthony and Michael had been staying in the Pittson Lane residence after illegally obtaining a key from a vacation rental company that Anthony had been previously employed by.

Anthony was arrested for Burglary of a Dwelling, Accessory After the Fact, Driving with License Suspended with Knowledge, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Anthony is being held at the SPHIDF on $6,000 bond.

By Kim Hunt

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