Woman Arrested After Taking Estranged Husband's Guns, Giving Them To Police

Courtney Irby was arrested after she stole her husbands firearms and turned them over to police.

Lakeland, FL – A woman was arrested after she broke into her estranged husband’s apartment and stole his guns to turn them in at the police department.

The bizarre series of events that led to Courtney Irby’s arrest began on June 14 after she and her husband Joseph Irby had a court hearing about their divorce, the Huffington Post reported.

An arrest affidavit said Joseph Irby followed his wife as she drove away from the courthouse and then repeatedly rammed the back of her car with his own.

"The defendant 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 said.

Joseph Irby ultimately ran Courtney Irby off the road, and the affidavit said she called police “uncontrollably crying and advised that she was in fear for her life,” the Huffington Post reported.

Joseph Irby was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Courtney Irby testified via telephone at his hearing the next morning, the Huffington Post reported.

The judge granted her estranged husband pretrial release on the condition that he not own, possess, or carry firearms.

When the hearing was over, Courtney Irby went to Joseph Irby’s apartment and broke in.

She took a handgun and a rifle belonging to him and drove with them to the nearby Lakeland Police Department, WFLA reported.

The arrest affidavit for Courtney Irby said she went into the police station and told an officer that she had stolen her husband’s guns.

“So are you telling me that you committed an armed burglary?” the officer asked.

“Yes, I am, but he wasn’t going to turn them in, so I am doing it,” she told him.

The officers reached out to Joseph Irby, who was still at the Polk County Jail, and told him what had happened, The Ledger reported.

Joseph Irby told police that he wanted to press charges against his estranged wife for stealing his weapons.

Courtney Irby was arrested on the spot and charged with grand theft of a firearm and armed burglary, WFLA reported.

She spent five nights in jail before she was granted bond, the Huffington Post reported.

Courtney Irby’s attorney, Lawrence Shearer, said that his client’s action didn’t amount to theft under Florida law because she was taking the guns to transfer to them to the police where Joseph Irby could have retrieved them later.

“Theft is to deprive someone of the right or benefit of property,” Shearer told the Huffington Post. “She didn’t do either one of those. She was taking them to the police department for safekeeping.”

He said he had faith that the state’s attorney’s office would do the “right thing” and drop the charges against Courtney Irby.

Community outrage went viral as word of the domestic violence victim’s arrest spread, WFLA reported.

Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia defended his department’s handling of the situation despite the outcry.

"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," Chief Garcia said.

The chief said he was unaware of any incidents in the past when police had been called to the Irby home, WFLA reported.

But Courtney Irby claimed she had taken out several orders of protection against her husband in the past, including a temporary injunction she said she had at the time of her arrest.

There is a new law in Florida that allows police to seize guns from citizens who are considered threats to themselves or others, WFLA reported.

However, when someone accused of domestic violence is ordered not to own firearms, there is no mechanism to check if the person owns weapons or to confiscate them.

Comments (42)
No. 1-25
AnnRein
AnnRein

She was wrong.

maxx1676
maxx1676

She did the right thing...he sounds like a nut case.

Bud
Bud

This is one screwy mess for sure. I can't see where the police had any other choice considering the circumstances. Personally I think they are both a couple of nut cases.

Asghaill
Asghaill

She had justification, but she should have just advised the police of the judgement and the fact that her husband possesses firearms, and the location where they are kept.

Let the police go their job. Doing it for them can get you arrested.

JBo
JBo

I think they're way past marriage counseling...just a guess.

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

Nothing like an amicable divorce ...

Bstn
Bstn

If she never lived in this apt then I would have charged her with the burglary (and only if said homeowner requested charges be filed) BUT NOT ARMED, cuz she didnt break in carrying a gun, she took her (soon to be ex) hubands guns, which if they are still legally married the guns are "common property". So unless divorce is 100% complete she didnt steal anything that wasnt 50% hers. She did correct thing by retrieving them and immediatly turning them over to police (that also negates the theft charge).

AnnykaV
AnnykaV

Nope, you don't get to break into an apartment you've not resided in to go turn in anything, doesn't matter if you think he won't comply, dude was still in jail.

Smaugmik
Smaugmik

It wasn't her place to do that. She committed numerous crimes. It's the police's job to remove his firearms under the court order.

Mr. FunkyStuff
Mr. FunkyStuff

If they were still married, it is common property. She had the right to take his guns and sell them if she wanted to. No crime in Florida.

LEO0301
LEO0301

And to think these two, at one point, couldn't live without each other.

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

Happy ex-wife, happy life! I’m glad my ex and I get along.

Do-The-Job-Right
Do-The-Job-Right

She Feared for her life after the events he created.

Government could careless if he used the guns to kill her.

Never Trust Government and Never Help Government.

Government only cares about a check and fake propaganda.

trainbuff
trainbuff

Man, if she'd of done that to me I'd of killed her. Wait, that would have been a crime in Florida to right? Lol!

Divorcing couples, you just gotta love them!

Mama1959
Mama1959

Did they investigate her claim that he was ramming her car? It doesn't sound like it. I think some things are missing in her story. They need to check her out.

gallowayg
gallowayg

Marital bliss.

Rayb
Rayb

Another woman back on the market....resident of crazy town

BuddyA
BuddyA

Breaking and entering. Even if it's an estranged spouse taking something without permission is theft and "it wasn't theft because she took them to the police" is a nonsensical argument. Taking anything without permission is theft.

Sargejh
Sargejh

My wife and I both retired LEOs and moved to FL 2 1/2 years ago. Wife was domestic violence detective. We couldn’t believe how far behind FL is in their DV laws and prosecution. Bad place to be DV victim regardless of circumstances.

Kevcali
Kevcali

She's better off in jail than in the morgue.

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

There’s a difference between the right thing to do, and the way to do the right thing to do.

Excalibr4
Excalibr4
  1. the judge made a ruling.
  2. There is no system in place to insure the ruling.
  3. She took it upon herself to insure the ruling was enforced to save her life.
  4. For once, the defense attorney makes perfect sense.
  5. Does Florida hate women?
Caprice56
Caprice56

I have a feeling there is much more to this story.

Mamome
Mamome

Really? There seems some facts being over looked here. Will the police even charge this man if he uses these same weapons against this woman in the future; or will they even take the weapons since there are protection orders against him? The mental licence here is questionable here! I am glad I don't live there.

Shirleybaird571
Shirleybaird571

I think, the cops should of went & got the guns. She should of not broke in to get them.