Man arrested in Lakeland after trying to fake Polk County deputies out with dry erase board message

Photo courtesy: Polk County Sheriff's Office

The Polk County Sheriff's Office ran into an unusual barrier when searching for a wanted man at his Lakeland home over the weekend.

On Saturday, deputies went to a residence on West 10th Street in Lakeland at around 2:45 p.m. after receiving a tip that a wanted person was located there. Johnny Yates, 41, was wanted for Aggravated Battery, False Imprisonment, and Tampering in a 2nd Degree Felony.

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When deputies arrived, they were faced with a dry-erase board in front of the home that read, "Johnny Yates does NOT live here!!" According to PCSO, deputies saw someone leaving the house, so they asked where Yates was, to which they responded that he was inside the house. 

Photo courtesy: Polk County Sheriff's Office

The deputies surrounded the house and called out over a loudspeaker for about an hour with no one responding. They then dispensed "surrender smoke" leading four people to exit the house, none of whom were Johnny.

Deputies called out some more again and dispensed more surrender smoke, to no avail. Then deputies and PCSO K-9 Dexter entered the home and found Yates hiding in a modified chest of drawers. 

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He was arrested and taken to jail. 

On their Facebook page, the sheriff's office wrote, "Gee…a dry-erase board never lied to us before—should we believe it?"