Man turns himself in after Deerfield Beach courthouse break-in

Joel Hooten, 35, used bat to smash entrance, deputies say


DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – A man who smashed his way into the North Regional Courthouse over the weekend in Deerfield Beach turned himself in to authorities Monday night, deputies said.

According to a Broward Sheriff's Office representative, Joel Hooten, 35, surrendered after seeing himself on various news outlets.

According to detectives, the courthouse's security captain arrived at the courthouse about 6:30 a.m. Monday to open for the day and discovered that one of the entrance doors had been smashed.

The employee reviewed the security cameras and discovered that a man with one hand had used a bat to smash the entrance door just before 9 a.m. on Sunday.

He conducted a quick safety check of the building and called BSO.

The building was evacuated as a precaution while deputies searched the building with K-9s.

According to BSO spokeswoman Joy Oglesby, Hooten tried to open several doors and eventually entered one room, and stayed there for a few minutes.

Staff members reported that nothing appeared to be missing from the courthouse.

According to detectives, Hooten, who works as a painter, claimed to be at the courthouse to work. But investigators said he had no reason to be there.

Hooten faces an armed burglary charge.

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