Stepfather of BSO deputy accused of stealing from storage unit

George Babula, 52, accused of stealing guns, BSO clothes, accessories


NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The stepfather of a Broward sheriff's deputy is facing multiple charges after he broke into a storage unit and stole four guns and BSO clothes and gear, authorities said.

George Babula, 52, was arrested Monday on a burglary charge and multiple counts of grand theft.

According to an arrest report, Babula broke into a Public Storage unit at 7550 W. McNab Road sometime between Aug. 15 and Oct. 11 and stole a BSO vest carrier, a black BSO raid shirt, four BSO hats, police utility belt accessories, a Sgt. Chris Reyka memorial tag, paintball supplies and an encased American flag, among other items.

Detectives said Babula also stole four firearms from inside the unit, including a Glock 22 .40-caliber handgun, a Glock 23 .40-caliber handgun, a Colt AR-15 rifle with its case and a Winchester 12-gauge shotgun.

Ammunition was also taken from the unit.

According to the report, Babula gave the BSO gear and memorial tag to his stepson, Deputy Sean Bonilla, sometime in October.

Detectives said Babula told Bonilla that he got hold of the gear after buying the storage unit in an auction.

The victim, former Deputy Erik Knutsen, later identified each piece stolen from his storage unit, which he said was never auctioned. Other items inside the unit were untouched. The stolen firearms have not been recovered.

Knutsen was fired from the BSO in 2012 after an internal affairs investigation found that he would often skip out on calls to spend on-duty time at strip clubs.

Babula is a convicted felon who was convicted of trafficking cocaine in December 1993. He was out on bond for a similar public storage burglary in Pompano Beach at the time of his arrest.

According to an arrest report from that incident, Bonilla identified his stepfather in surveillance video taken Nov. 14 that showed a man breaking into numerous units at a facility at 2250 W. Copans Road.

He faces burglary and grand theft charges in that case.



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