Couple started in business and devolved into thievery – and maybe most worse

July 10, 2016 - storage organizer

Darren Decker, a 41-year-old Ocala male who has called Florida home for a past 8 years, wears a lot of hats.

He’s an businessman who operated a guaranty shop, a deli, several automobile garages and a bar called All About That Beer.

He’s a humanitarian who charity adult his pub for village fundraisers and hosted a Florida Bikers Helping Florida Bikers event.

He’s a Confederate dwindle believer who speedy appearance in final year’s Florida Southern Pride Ride.

He’s a county romantic who has addressed a Marion County Commission and a Ocala City Council.

And, if allegations brought by internal law coercion infer true, he is a sequence rapist and murderer.

Decker and his longtime girlfriend, Jessica Baker, 44, were arrested in Apr in tie with what authorities report as a four-month fibre of approximately 60 burglaries in Alachua, Citrus, Levy, Marion and Sumter counties.

Because a burglaries camber some-more than one legal circuit, Ric Ridgway, arch partner state profession for a 5th Judicial Circuit, pronounced a Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will hoop those cases.

Decker was indicted in late Jun by a Marion County grand jury on one count of first-degree murder, one count of thievery of a home with a firearm and one count of grand theft, according to Assistant State Attorney Amy Berndt.

The murder assign corresponds to a Jan genocide of Tamara Bedenbaugh, a 57-year-old Ocala lady found passed in her home after an apparent home invasion.

Baker was not named in a complaint for Bedenbaugh’s murder.

Decker and Baker are both deliberate persons of seductiveness in tie with a Apr murdering of Don “Terry” Plumeri on a Citrus County side of Dunnellon. Lindsay Blair, a mouthpiece with a Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, pronounced that review is ongoing.

In Marion County and in Ulster County, New York, where Baker and Decker met while in their early 20s, a integrate have left a lane of tax- and creditor-related annals that advise a extensive story of financial instability. But conjunction has a arrange of behind story that competence be approaching from a hardened criminal.

Records for Baker, whom friends and colleagues consistently report as a still reflection to her some-more attention-grabbing boyfriend, exhibit zero some-more critical than a trade ticket. Aside from one 2007 quarrel outward a New York pizza shop, that was staid yet arrest, Decker further has no aroused offenses on his record.

“I’m totally blown away,” pronounced Billie Jackson, a crony who mostly spent time with a integrate when they owned their bar. “I would never see that entrance in a million years.”


Roots in New York

Decker and Baker came from New York state, where they grew adult on conflicting sides of a Hudson River: Baker in Dutchess County, Decker in Ulster County. They met in a early 1990s, introduced by Baker’s brother, and built a life together on Decker’s side of town.

Through a early 2000s they staked a explain as entrepreneurs: Business certificates on record with a Ulster County Clerk of Courts place a integrate behind a array of enterprises commencement in 2001. These embody a guaranty shop, Almost Anything Goes, in Kingston; automotive shops, Decker’s Auto and Double D’s One Stop Auto Shop, in Lake Katrine, and a deli, Double D’s One Stop Sandwich Shop, also in Lake Katrine.

This duration is also when a initial of their financial troubles started to surface. Creditors filed UCC-1 financing statements for a interest in a couple’s business apparatus in 2004 and 2005. (It is misleading either they ever staid these debts.) Warrants for some-more than $34,000 in delinquent business taxes sojourn payable in New York.

Financial issues led to Decker’s detain twice in New York — in 1997 for arising a bad check and in 2007 for unaware a red fasten in a money-making venture. That year, according to New York State Police, Decker finished a distinction of some-more than $26,0000 by delivering cars to a internal throw yard. State military arrested him on charges that he followed a deals yet a correct paperwork. He told investigators that he performed a cars from locals who responded to ads, charity to mislay junk cars, that he placed on Craigslist and in a internal paper.

Decker’s mother, Joanne, pronounced her son did not plead his finances with her. When he left for Florida in 2008, he told her he was prepared for a change. The Sunshine State seemed like a earnest choice for a couple, who, by that point, had 3 children together.

In selecting Ocala, Decker and Baker were returning to informed ground. Joanne Decker pronounced they had spent time here previously, nonetheless it’s misleading when and for how long. Decker pronounced she suspicion her son and his partner had lived there quickly before starting their family; Billie Jackson, one of their Ocala friends, pronounced she removed them already toting their immature son along when she met them during their initial army in Florida.

“They usually wanted to try a South,” Joanne Decker said, “to see if it was better.”


Fresh start

If appearances are to be believed, things went good for a Decker-Baker family in Marion County.

Following an approximately two-year army operative during a internal Tuffy Auto Service Center and afterwards an approximately year-long duration where during slightest dual companies that Decker told others were contracting him repudiate ever carrying him on payroll, Decker took a entrepreneurial route. He and Baker non-stop Double D’s Automotive on Northeast 14th Street, in a tumble of 2011.

Once again, business reign was a clearly remunerative move. Shortly after opening, Decker was cruising around city in a Hummer, according to David Kappel, who worked with Decker during Tuffy and followed him to Double D’s. Kappel removed a array of pricey rides that followed — a GMC Yukon, a Chevrolet Suburban — any driven for one- or two-year stints.

The vehicles were one aspect of a high-rolling, big-spending persona that Decker favourite to cultivate, according to several people who knew him socially. He busy thesis parks with his family; his Facebook page papers a outing to Busch Gardens as recently as April. His page also boasts of a vessel and cruises. People who interacted with him during a bar report Decker as a kind of male who flaunts his income and buys a turn for a house.

“He bragged too much,” pronounced Dee Giglio, who worked quickly underneath Decker as a bartender.

David Curtis, who owned a bar before Decker and interacted with him during a transition, picked adult on a same vibe.

“He suspicion he was a richest male around,” Curtis said.

The books during Double D’s indicated otherwise. Kappel pronounced Decker frequently borrowed income from during slightest one patron usually to make ends meet. Mirroring what happened in New York, creditors filed for a interest in Decker’s business within months of Double D’s opening. The Florida Department of Revenue released warrants for delinquent business taxes in 2013 and 2014 — a debt that Decker eventually paid in full.

Business was going good during Double D’s, Kappel said, yet he doubted any fiscally obliged automobile emporium owners could means to live like Decker did.

“As shortly as he’d get any income in his pocket, he’d blow it,” Kappel said.


Outreach in Ocala

Decker left Double D’s in Nov 2014, revelation Kappel that he was offering a business due to health concerns. It wasn’t prolonged before he altered on to a new business venture: Within months, he was in talks with Curtis about picking adult Curtis’ franchise for Just One More The Beer Pub, a blue-collar pub that Curtis had been using on Northeast 25th Avenue.

Decker rigourously took a helm in February, rechristened a bar All About That Beer, and began to take on a quite open role. He positioned a corner as a venue for internal fundraisers, a co-operator with a nonprofit Florida Bikers Helping Florida Bikers, and a rallying indicate for final summer’s Florida Southern Pride Ride.

“He was a initial one to say, ‘Let’s do it,’” pronounced Jackson, who pronounced she mostly forsaken in during a bar when she indispensable a mangle from her purpose as full-time caretaker for her aged mother.

Jackson pronounced she attended several fundraisers and advantages during All About That Beer, never with any regard that supports wouldn’t make their approach to a settled beneficiary. Florida Bikers Helping Florida Bikers, a nonprofit, also sponsored one eventuality there, according to Angela Lashley, a organization’s secretary in Marion County.

Most of a 11 patrons, including Jackson, who spoke in support of Decker during an Ocala City Council assembly in May 2015 cited these fundraisers as justification that he upheld a internal community. They came out that night to inspire a legislature to “give Mr. Decker a chance,” according to assembly minutes, by extenuation him an alcoholic libation plcae assent that would concede him to free his bar.

Permit hangups had forced Decker to tighten a pub for about dual months before to that meeting. These mostly stemmed from Curtis’ decision, in March, to lift his alcoholic libation license, that Decker had been handling underneath from a state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Curtis did this after military cited Decker for offering alcoholic beverages after 2 a.m. That assign has given been dropped.

The legislature eventually voted to give Decker a chance, arising him a probationary plcae assent that paved a approach for a proxy state assent underneath his possess name.

Decker jockeyed himself into internal inflection again months after by a internal Florida Southern Pride Ride, orderly in Jul in response to a internal debate surrounding a Confederate conflict flag. While Decker portrayed himself as a pushing force behind a float during a Jul assembly of a Marion County Commission, a float organizer denies Decker played any organizing role.

Nevertheless, his name cropped adult on convene day during a Southeastern Livestock Pavilion. Video shows a orator seeking bikers to tumble in line behind “Darren Decker, owners of All About That Beer.”

Although a bar seemed to offer Decker a height to achieve a some-more distinguished purpose in a community, his business practices seemed to be unchanged. The Florida Department of Revenue in Feb released a aver citing $16,946 in behind taxes opposite Decker’s bar — a debt that stays unpaid. Giglio, who now runs a bar underneath a new name, Softails and Knuckleheads, pronounced Decker eliminated his franchise to her after borrowing $6,000 from her and husband. He never paid them back.


An capricious income

Around a same time Decker was losing his reason on a bar, Kappell said, he was perplexing to reinstate his reason on Double D’s. (The business, nonetheless independent with Decker given he sole it, had remained underneath that name until Jan 2016).

He charity to buy a place behind from Blane Bercegeay but, when he couldn’t supply a income upfront, Bercegeay instead sole it to a tide owner, Robert Laciuga.

Baker, who had continued to work behind a table during Double D’s after Decker sole a business, quit shortly after a transaction fell through. Kappel pronounced this preference came by vigour by Decker, who some pronounced seemed to have a determining reason over her.

Giglio removed that he paid courtesy to who she spoke to during a bar, for example; when Baker during one indicate deleted several connectors on Facebook, including Giglio, she attributed a pierce to Decker’s influence. Jackson pronounced Baker was simply shabby by her boyfriend, mostly since she seemed to be deeply in adore with him.

“She would have finished anything for him,” Jackson said.

That’s not to contend a integrate didn’t continue severe patches. Giglio and others pronounced Decker would mostly pierce a many younger partner to a bar during his reign as owner. In an Apr 2015 petition for a confining order, he identified a lady as an “intimate partner.” Decker and Baker seem to have reconciled many recently someday this summer, formed on Decker’s reappearance, in dozens of sexual posts, on Baker’s Facebook timeline.

In Jan 2016, she wrote that she looked brazen to marrying him.

“The day we met we my life changed,” she wrote. “The approach we make me feel is tough to explain. You make me grin in a special kind of way. You make me tumble deeper in adore everyday. we can't wait to marry you. we (heart) U.”

If a integrate had any arrange of income over September, friends, family and open annals couldn’t brand what it would have been. Their debts, though, continued to shelve up. A internal decider ruled in Nov that Decker due scarcely $50,000 to a internal integrate he’d strike in 2011 while pushing uninsured. Gary Kornfield, a profession who represented a word association in that case, pronounced Decker’s assent was dangling in Mar 2016 when he unsuccessful to pay; he pronounced Decker entered a remuneration devise a following month.

Law coercion authorities advise a integrate found a new income tide commencement in January: burglaries.


The ‘pillowcase burglars’

Authorities contend a thievery debauch began in January, and charges filed so distant in Alachua, Marion and Sumter counties offer a prejudiced timeline from there: a stop in Lake Panasoffkee on Feb. 4, in Bushnell on Feb. 12, in Webster on Mar 8, in Gainesville on Mar 30, in High Springs on Apr 4, and so on.

Each thievery fit a profile. Pry outlines around doorways. Thefts of guns, valuables and tiny electronics. And, restraining a crimes together, any homeowner reported a blank pillowcase.

That was a couple’s signature, according to authorities: holding their rob in pillowcases they swiped from a houses. Hence their nickname in central circles: a “pillowcase burglars.”

Baker typically played a teenager role, according to one confirmation from Alachua County that references an talk Decker gave after his arrest.

“Jessica Baker would during times expostulate him around not meaningful what he was formulation to do during residences,” a confirmation states. “The suspect (Decker) settled that Jessica was usually benefaction for a few, inventory another thievery that occurred in Alachua County.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Brian Dotten, of Marion County, pronounced during a news discussion final month that Decker was “very discreet and picked his targets carefully.” But detain affidavits advise there were a few tighten calls.

In April, according to an Alachua County affidavit, a High Springs lady returned home and saw Baker outside. She told deputies that Baker told her she was meddlesome in her truck, and afterwards left when a lady went inside. There, she told deputies, she satisfied someone had been inside and immediately dialed 911 from her land line.

While on a line, both a plant and a user listened a pop, “which would be unchanging with another handset being hung up.” The confirmation suggests that Decker was still in a residence during that point, sloping off to a woman’s attainment by Baker.

In another example, authorities contend Decker was astounded by a 14-year-old child in a Dunnellon home. The child told deputies that a intruder, a white male he after identified as Decker, told him to behind solemnly into a bathroom. There, a child told deputies, Decker gave him a warning.

“If we pierce from here, I’m going to fire we and you’re going to die,” a child steady to deputies.

The child took heed, according to a affidavit, remaining in a lavatory until his stepfather came home and found him there. The stepfather reported dual blank wallets.

A multi-agency group identified Decker and Baker as suspects in a burglaries after a integrate attempted to sell some of a stolen equipment online. Authorities began to lane their movements, finally confirming a thievery in Sumter County in late April. Both were arrested on Apr 18 in Marion County.

Search warrants executed during their Northeast 25th Avenue home, their car and a storage section unearthed a trove of blank items, including some that were easy to identify, such as a University of Florida ID with a victim’s name and photo.


Accusations of escalation

The many critical accusations opposite Decker and Becker — a killings of Bedenbaugh and Plumeri — are a hardest for Joanne Decker to stomach.

She pronounced her son is kind, generous, friendly and good famous around his hometown. He and Baker were “the best relatives kids could ask for.”

She pronounced he is not someone, in other words, who is able of a arrange of crimes that officials during a Apr press discussion suggested he was behind.

Officials afterwards pronounced they were assured of a tie to a Plumeri death. They identified them reduction positively to a Marion County killing. Bedenbaugh, 57, was found passed in her County Road 225A home in late January. Authorities during a time attributed her genocide to a home advance robbery, observant that her home showed signs of forced entry. Missing from a home were cash, a wallet and jewelry, including a costly bullion pieces she was famous to wear.

Plumeri, 71, a obvious composer, was found passed in his Dunnellon home on Apr 1.

Joanne Decker wonders either a cadence her son suffered around a time that he left a bar could have somehow influenced his actions. She noted, for example, that he began to pronounce repetitively while on a phone with her following that health scare.

Jackson, for her part, pronounced she is self-denial visualisation on her friends.

“You’re trusting until proven guilty,” she said.

– Contact Nicki Gorny during 352-867-4065, or @Nicki_Gorny.

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