The Bizarre World of Florida

Man stabbed over a peanut butter accusation. June 30, 2012

A man who accused another man of feeding his dog peanut butter was taken to the hospital Friday morning after being stabbed.
Deputies say it happened early Friday morning in the 21300 block of Gladis Avenue in Port Charlotte.

According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, the victim accused 35-year-old John Vargo of Deep Creek of feeding his dog peanut butter.  Vargo told deputies that he threw the empty peanut butter container at the victim, who then punched Vargo in the head.

Vargo said the man threatened him and his girlfriend with a baseball bat and came outside yelling at him, and they walked down the street and called CCSO.

Responding deputies began questioning Vargo and noticed the victim driving away from the scene in a truck.  When deputies stopped him, they saw he had a stab wound.  He was taken by EMS to Peace River Regional Medical Center for treatment.

The victim said Vargo stabbed him in the chest and then they walked away from the house. However, Vargo’s girlfriend told detectives that Vargo stabbed the victim before the victim went into the house and grabbed a baseball bat.

A search of Vargo revealed a curved blade pocket knife in his pocket.  He was later transported to the Charlotte County Jail where he remains on no bond on a charge of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon; his fourth booking.


Oh shit! Man tampered with saline laxatives.

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Florida Nut,Scary,WTF? — floridaduh @ 12:53 pm

Police have arrested a man they said repeatedly bought packs of enema saline laxatives from a CVS store, used them and returned them to the store.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was arrested on an unrelated outstanding warrant while investigators look into the product tampering case.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is working with investigators from the Food and Drug Administration, the lead agency, in this case.

Police were called to the CVS store in the 9500 block of San Jose Boulevard the morning of June 12 when the man was arguing with a store clerk.

Police said the man had been frequenting the CVS since March and began returning the product in April. They said he would purchase a pack of enamas and return them at a later time.

CVS employees told police the items appeared to be unused, and so the store would put the box of enemas back on the shelf for resale.

Police said that on June 5, an employee thought it was strange that the same man was making returns with the same product. The employee decided to check the box after it was returned and saw all six of the enemas inside had been used and the box and been resealed so it would appear to be unopened, police said.

An employee then check the additional three boxes on the shelf and determined they had all been previously used, police said.

On June 12, the same man tried to return another box of enemas that he bought the day before, but an employee told him he could no longer take returns for the items, police said. The employee contacted his loss prevention manager and advised all the area CVS stores about what happened, police said.

CVS employees told police the man bought the enemas with a credit card one time, and that transaction and other purchase, along with the man’s license plate number, led police to him, investigators said.

Police said they took samples of the fluid in the enema bottles and sent them to the Florida Department of Health for testing. Police said fecal matter was found on some of the returned bottles. They said the fecal matter was collected as evidence and submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing.

The man was identified and arrested.


It looks as though this bug on the wall got swatted.

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Florida Nut,Really Dumb,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 12:51 pm

The SWAT team was suiting up to storm a career criminal’s house when the suspect started receiving text messages from one of the cops.

Officer Robert “Bobby” Edwards sent 20 texts and four calls over three hours. “Delete me from your phone, you know, erase my messages, don’t call me,” he texted.

The officer’s messages helped the career criminal evade the SWAT team and cost Edwards his job, according to Internal Affairs documents released Tuesday.

The planned arrest was called off after the SWAT team lost track of their suspect and the FBI suggested the mission be aborted for “safety reasons.” Turns out the suspect, accused of running a prostitution ring, was also an informant for the FBI. He surrendered the next day.

According to the report: “The evidence in this case indicates that Officer Robert Edwards became privy to the forthcoming arrest of Confidential Informant 1 and in doing so sent insightful messages to” him. The only way the arrest would have been successful, the report concludes, was for the SWAT team to have had “the element of surprise.”

Edwards, 30, won’t face prosecution because the State Attorney’s Office offered him immunity in exchange for explaining what had happened. The close-out memo from prosecutors released Tuesday also said there was insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal case against Edwards.

Edwards, who had been with the department for five years, was placed on administrative leave with pay on Jan. 12 while Internal Affairs investigated. He resigned April 24.

Police began investigating Edwards’ buddy, referred to as “Confidential Informant 1″ in the Internal Affairs report, after a woman said he forced her to work for him as a prostitute and threatened her if she tried to leave. His name is not being made public because he is an informant for the FBI in an unrelated case.

The man worked out with two Plantation police officers, according to the Internal Affairs report. Prosecutors said Edwards first met the man in 2010 at American Top Team gym in Sunrise.

Because of the man’s training in martial arts and nine felony convictions from 1993 to 2000, Plantation police decided to use the SWAT team to arrest him on several charges, including sexual battery, according to the report.

“Due to the conflict of interest, in that both SWAT members would be asked to take down a subject in which there may be a camaraderie, the two SWAT members would not participate in the take-down operation,” according to the report.

On Aug. 17, 2011, the SWAT team was instructed to “suit up.” Edwards and the other officer, Brian McVeigh, were sent to a separate room, told they would not be participating because they knew the suspect and were forbidden from using their cellphones.

But the mission was called off after Plantation police lost track of the suspect after he went into a restaurant and had somebody else drive off in his car. The suspect called an FBI agent he knew and told him he knew the Plantation police were about to “hit his house.”

The suspect turned himself in to Plantation police the next day. He said he “knew about the operation to arrest him because [he] had received a phone call from one of his cop friends,” according to the report.

Plantation police began a new investigation and subpoenaed the suspect’s phone records, which arrived in November. “The research into the results indicated that SWAT member Robert Edwards began texting [him] … there would be an exchange of 20 texts messages and four phone calls …” in less than three hours on Aug. 17.

After “Confidential Informant 1″ was released from jail, he told an FBI agent that on that August day, he had received a call from his friend at Plantation Police Department asking if he was OK and if he was “keeping his nose clean.”

“In reality he didn’t tip anybody off to anything but because he engaged in communications, there were inferences that existed,” said Edwards’ attorney, Mike Dutko. “Even the most staunch critics would have to acknowledge there’s nothing he did to compromise any investigation because the guy surrendered himself.”

Edwards comes from a prominent Plantation family: His mother is Siobhan Edwards, executive director of the Greater Plantation Chamber of Commerce. His father is Bruce Edwards, a former city councilman from March 1997 through June 2005. And his sister is Katie Edwards, who is running in the Democratic primary in August for state House District 98, which includes parts of Sunrise, Plantation and Weston.

“I’ve always been proud of my son and he served the city well,” Siobhan Edwards said Tuesday. “He’s moved on to a different phase of his life.”

“Confidential Informant 1″ knew Edwards’ sister, Courtney. But Edwards told authorities he and the suspect “do not have a relationship outside of the gym and do not interact in a social setting outside of the gym.”

Edwards told authorities they talked on the telephone about future training days together. “Confidential Informant 1″ called Edwards “Coach” because Edwards was his mixed martial coach at the gym.

In his resignation letter to the police chief, Edwards expressed his “sincerest apology to you and to the department for an error in judgment on my part that had the unintended consequence of jeopardizing an investigation and exposing my brother officers to potential danger,” according to documents released Tuesday.

Police Chief Howard Harrison said Tuesday he was “disappointed in what took place whether it was intentional or not. Regardless of the intent, the officer made a bad decision and he took responsibility for his actions.”


Easy pickings at Easy Picker Golf Products …. $800,000 worth!

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Florida Nut,Fraud,Really Dumb,Robbers,WTF? — floridaduh @ 12:48 pm

An Alva woman was arrested for stealing $818,339.37 between February 2010 and May 2011 while employed as a bookkeeper for Easy Picker Golf Products, Inc. in Lehigh Acres.

Bonnie Denning (DOB: 10/20/1972) of 18120 River Chase Court, Alva, was arrested Tuesday, June 26, 2012 and has been charged with first degree grand theft and scheming to defraud.

The theft was brought to the attention of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on May 20, 2011 when one of the business owners filed a report. Investigators with the Economic Crimes Unit immediately began to conduct an investigation into the allegations and uncovered a myriad of expenditures made by Denning for her personal use.

Prior to involvement by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigators, the business owners suspected something was amiss when they began to experience cash flow problems. They turned their business records over to a C.P.A. for analysis and he identified unusual wire transfers and a large number of debit card transactions from the business. Multiple checks had been written and a debit card had been obtained for the business by Denning. She had even written a check for $5,295.76 for shutters for her home. Further investigation revealed 54 unauthorized wire transfers totaling $358,885.50 including $4,799.58 for granite installation for her home and $29,160.00 for a drug rehabilitation program for a relative. She also made 60 unauthorized debit card purchases totaling $411,387.00. A majority of the debit card purchases were to online clothing stores, gas stations, electronic retailers and home furniture stores.

The total amount wire transferred by Denning into other accounts without permission or authority to do so was $358,885.50. This included $269,534.88 that had been wired to business in which Bonnie Denning is the officer/ registered Agent through the Florida Division of Corporations. These businesses are:

Southern Land Property Management Company LLC

The Burson-Denning Group, Inc.

Southern Land Investment & Real Estate, Inc.

J&B Real Estate Inc.

BL Properties, LLC.


The teens were apparently moving targets. Man jailed after firing gun at teens driving four-wheelers

Filed under: Abuse,Amazing,Bizzarre,Dangerous Nut,Florida Nut,Guns,Really Dumb,Shooting,WTF? — floridaduh @ 12:45 pm

Three teen boys got the scare of their lives Thursday night as they drove their four-wheelers down Ridge Boulevard near DeLand. When they passed by a home in the 600 block a man pointed a gun at them and fired one shot. No one was struck or hurt and the teens sped away to a friend’s house to report the incident. Responding deputies arrested Paul Smith, 50, charging him with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The teens – two are 16 and one is 15 – had finished driving their four-wheelers on a trail and then headed down Ridge Boulevard at about 11 p.m. When they passed 620 Ridge Blvd. they saw a man dressed in camouflage pants and a black shirt standing against a fence. Without warning, the man pulled out a silver revolver, pointed it at the trio and fired one shot. The boys immediately went to a friend’s house to report the incident.  Smith had apparently been irritated with the boys for riding by his house on their four-wheelers before, according to the teens. But in the past he had only yelled and cursed at them.

Deputies found Smith at his home at 2550 Lake Ruby Road, which abuts 620 Ridge Blvd. Initially, Smith claimed he was asleep the whole time. But later he admitted to confronting the teens by just yelling at them. Then his story changed again to him pointing a finger at the boys when a firecracker had gone off somewhere nearby at the same time. Smith was arrested without incident and transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.


Woman, 32, ‘had sex with an under-16 boy in park bathroom’ June 29, 2012

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Florida Nut,Nudity,Sex,Sexual Exposure,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 11:51 am

A 32-year-old woman was arrested for having  sex with a boy under the age of 16 in a park bathroom.

Destiny Ruth Witte, from Lakeland, Orlando,  is believed to have kissed the child before taking him to a bathroom and having  sex with him.

She was arrested on Wednesday after the  teenager told police about their alleged relationship and let him listen in on a  phone call.

It was first discovered this week when a  relative of the teeanger became concerned about how close the pair had become  and invited Witte to the family home for a talk.

Few details have been revealed about the  meeting but according to the Orlando  Sentinel, Witte arrived wearing ‘provocative clothes’  and embraced the teen in a ‘passionate’ manner during the ‘awkward’  meeting.

During the phone call between Witte and the  teen which led to her arrest, when one of the detectives broke into the  conversation, the 32-year-old agreed to meet with them.

She later said she felt ‘sick  to her stomach and realized what  she had done was wrong…and would be willing to  get counseling  or do anything to “make this right”,’ according to the arrest  report.

She has been charged with one  count of lewd battery on a child under 16 and two counts of lewd conduct with a  child under 16, both second-degree felonies.


Kiddie porn found on couple’s lost phone at Walmart

A North Fort Myers couple have been arrested after child pornography was allegedly found on a cell phone they accidentally left in a Walmart shopping cart.

Alan Robert Johnson, a 33-year-old registered sex offender, was arrested with Jennifer A. Sparks, 37, on Wednesday.

The phone they left behind allegedly contained pictures of a naked adult male and female, as well as pictures of naked toddlers’ genitalia, according to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office report. It was found by customers June 2, at Walmart Neighborhood Market at 505 SW Pine Island Road in Cape Coral.

Cape Coral police searched the phone and found an email address they traced to Johnson, whose Facebook page displayed several of the same photos found on the cell phone. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the residence he shares with Sparks in the 1100 block of 3rd Way in North Fort Myers.

At the residence, detectives found pictures and videos of Johnson and Sparks engaging in oral sex and lewd molestation of a 4-year-old girl.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office located the minor child and she was transferred to the Department of Children and Families.

Johnson was convicted of possessing and transporting child pornography in 2003.

He and Sparks are in Lee County Jail facing charges of sexual assault against a victim under 12, directing or promoting sexual performance by a child and possession of child pornography. They are being held without bail.


Mom left 3 kids in car to shop because ’3-year-old’ is a handful

Filed under: Abuse,Bad Mother,Child Abuse,Dangerous Nut,Florida Nut,Really Dumb,WTF? — floridaduh @ 11:45 am

A woman left three young children in her car, with the windows shut and no air conditioning, while she went into the mall by herself because the 3-year-old child “is a handful,” according to a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office report.

The report said the children, ages 6, 3 and 1, were left unattended for about 25 minutes Tuesday morning while Veronica Wanamaker-Miller, 29, went into the Best Buy at Gulf View Square mall.

Best Buy personnel told Wanamaker-Miller that her children were possibly in danger, at which time she returned to her car, the report said. Deputies said Wanamaker-Miller told them the 3-year-old is a handful and that it is easier to do things without the children.

Wanamaker-Miller, of Port Richey, was arrested and charged with child neglect. She was released Tuesday night from the Land O’Lakes jail after posting $5,000 bond.


This woman must have been all keyed-up and raring to go…to jail.

A 60-year-old woman was arrested for keying a man’s truck on all four  sides.

The incident took place on June 12 when an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputy  was called to a unit at Shoreline Towers. When the deputy arrived he found the  woman banging on a man’s door, shouting obscenities and demanding that the man  come out. The deputy removed her from the hallway and issued her a trespass  warning. The woman responded by saying civil court does no good and she had  “other ways” of handling the situation. She vowed to return to the unit once the  deputy left.

Ten minutes later, the man and his girlfriend saw the woman walk up to the  man’s 2007 Dodge Durango and key all four sides of the SUV. The man estimated  the damage would cost over $1,000 to repair. A separate witness saw the woman,  identified as Donna Jo Blair, near the man’s vehicle.

Blair was charged with felony criminal mischief and faces a July 17 court  date.


If you drop your gun during a fight … don’t run after the guy who has it … bad idea! June 28, 2012

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Dangerous Nut,Death,Fight,Really Dumb,Shooting,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:16 pm

Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man they say fatally shot another man following an argument in Palmetto Wednesday night.

Deputies responded to the 3800 block of 3rd Avenue East around 7pm, where they found the shooting victim, 32-year-old Michael Yarn.  He was taken to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses told investigators that the suspect, 30-year-old Steven Robert Rotolo, Jr., was at Yarn’s house and the two began to argue, which turned into a scuffle.   Yarn was armed and during the scuffle, but his gun fell to the floor. Rotolo picked up the gun and fled the residence.  Yarn followed Rotolo and yelled at him to give his gun back.  That’s when police say Rotolo shot Yarn.

Rotolo left the area but was located a short time later in Bradenton and arrested in connection with the shooting.  Rotolo will be booked into the Manatee County Jail.

Rotolo is a convicted felon.

He was arrested in Manatee County in 2009 and charged with False Imprisonment of Child Under Age 13 and Sexual Battery.



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