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The Bizarre World of Florida

He may be called ‘Slender’ but he’s poses a big fat risk for violence to gullible teens September 11, 2014

The ​fictional character Slender Man is reportedly the inspiration of yet another violent crime.

1Authorities say a 14-year-old girl set her Port Richey, Florida, home on fire while her mother and young brother were sleeping inside in an effort to please Slender Man.

The incident reportedly took place after the girl had an argument with her mother. Her mother woke up in time to get her son out of the home and said she later received text messages from her daughter admitting to setting the fire.

The girl told authorities she was motivated by a Slender Man website and was also inspired by the two Wisconsin girls who allegedly attempted to stab their friend to death.

What is it about this fiction figure that’s prompting so much violence?

The Slender Man websites and social media pages depict the character as mythical and villain-like. Those pages include some pretty creepy language that encourages violence.

However, after these recent child crimes, a lot of those same sites are including disclaimers saying that it is all fictional and that the site is meant for adults.

Most experts agree that viewing violent websites is not good for childhood development.

And a study published in Pediatrics shows young people who are exposed to violent forms of media are much more likely to exhibit violent behavior themselves.

Here are some websites that WFTS warned parents contain violent Slender Man information:

“First, the Slender Man wiki gathers urban legends describing the character and gathers Internet users who want to talk about him. Also, an entire page on the site Creepypasta rounds up eerie photographs and myths about Slender Man. Finally, you may see Slender Man tied to the viral online book ‘Soul Eater.'”

The Florida girl has been charged with arson and two counts of attempted murder. Local authorities have not said whether she’ll be charged as an adult.

 

Boy, 12, already accused of stealing two school buses, steals truck August 11, 2014

Local police said a 12 year old Springfield boy is at it again.

Michael Propst, who is accused of stealing two different school busses, is now charged with another count of grand theft auto. When talking with Springfield Police, they think Propst’s home life is making him lash out by stealing these vehicles.

“Juvenile Justice called and told me ‘In case you’re not aware, he’s on the loose again.” That’s what Springfield Police Chief Philip Thorne said he faced first thing Thursday morning.

Michael Propst, who’s previously been charged with stealing two school buses, was now accused of stealing a 1990 Chevy truck from a neighbor.

Thorne added, “I talked to DJJ for a few minutes and then I checked. Said ‘Not again,” and then I saw our reports and had a chance to get with the Assistant Chief who had been briefed and was able to find out what all had transpired.”

Authorities first arrested Propst in June for allegedly stealing a school bus from a home in Parker and driving it to Panama City Beach.

He served 21 days in Juvenile Detention.

The day after his release, police say Propst stole his mother’s car, then another school bus from Parker Elementary School. They found him driving that bus in Eastpoint in Franklin County.

Propst completed another 21 day detention period on Tuesday.

Wednesday night, investigators said he cut off his ankle monitor and then tried to steal his mother’s car again. When that failed, he walked to a neighbor’s house, tried to steal a go-cart, then succeeded in stealing a truck.

kid+steals+busesThrough Facebook, authorities determined Propst was on his way to Dothan to meet a friend. Chief Thorne added, “So we alerted Jackson County and Alabama authorities to assist us and early this morning we got a call.”

Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Propst in Campbellton. They said he’d just left a friend’s house and was heading toward the state line.

Thorne said, “He has been interviewed and he has admitted to attempting to steal his mother’s car. He’s admitted to, at the house where the truck was stolen, prior to stealing the truck, he actually went into the garage, committed a burglary going into the garage an attempted to steal a go-cart.”

Police think there are personal issues that are causing this behavior.

Thorne added, “We’ve got a young man that apparently has, not only some emotional problems of his own, but apparently has some home issues and this is the only way he lash out is to. When he’s facing something he doesn’t like, he lashes out by running and stealing things. We’ve tried asking him to see if there’s something, and I would hope and assume that somebody at DJJ, while he’s been incarcerated, would have tried to counsel him, but apparently he’s not ready to open up to whatever his issues are and seek help or seek change.”

Propst is due before a judge tomorrow, who will most likely order him held for another 21 days.

 

Teens break into car without noticing the undercover detective sitting inside it. Oops July 18, 2014

police+lights44Three teens were charged with attempted burglary after authorities say they tried to open the door of a parked car while an undercover St. Petersburg police detective sat inside.

The detective was watching an area because officers received reports that teens were trying to open parked car doors. The detective watched the teens try other doors.

Apparently unaware he was inside, the teens tried the detective’s door last.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the teens, girls ages 13 and 15 and a 14-year-old boy, were arrested. All three were charged with possession of burglary tools and burglary on a vehicle.

 

Boy, 12, stole school bus for joyride — again

 When a 12-year-old boy, Michael Propst, allegedly stole a school bus last month and took it for a joy ride, a lot of people snickered.

BUSSSS-1One day after his release from the Department of Juvenile Justice, and police say he’s done it again, but this time few people are laughing.

“They said, ‘Mike, we got another bus missing.’ I said, ‘Please tell me it’s not the little boy again.’ That’s exactly who it was,” Bay District School Security Chief Mike Jones said.

Authorities ordered him held by the Department of Juvenile Justice for 21 days. “He was released from custody Tuesday and stole another bus,” Jones said.

It all began around 7 a.m. Wednesday. The bus driver parked the bus at Parker Elementary School and hid the keys somewhere inside the bus.

“We learned through Springfield Police Department that a juvenile had stolen a car in their city and had apparently driven it to the area of Parker Schools,” Parker Police Chief Charles Sweat said.

According to deputies, the car was stolen from one of Propst’s family members.

“It just used for the purpose, or appears to be used, just for a mode of transportation. To get here to the area of Parker Schools to steal another bus.” Sweat said.

Officials say he drove from Parker all the way to Franklin County. That’s more than 75 miles, or an hour-and-a-half drive.

Around 10 a.m. Wednesday, Franklin County Deputies began receiving calls about an erratic school bus driver. A deputy pulled over the bus and found Propst behind the wheel. Jones said, “He told him that somebody had loaned him the bus or gave him the bus. That was the story last time. One of my friends gave me the bus. Twelve years old, it’s hard to believe. He was in trouble last time, but he’s in serious trouble this time.”

Sweat adds, “The legislature needs to change some of the guidelines as far as holding juveniles whenever the commit multiple and numerous felonies.”

Jones assures the public that something like this will not happen again. New procedures are already in place. He said, “That won’t happen no more. There won’t be any keys hidden on any buses.”

Police are still looking for the car Propst supposedly stole from a family member.

Fortunately, the school bus was not damaged.

 

Teens used cellphone to impersonate cops July 14, 2014

Two teenaged boys were arrested Thursday night for impersonating law enforcement, a felony, but their family says it was all just a prank.

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The teens, Angel Torres Jr., 17 and Christian Jose Iturbe, 16, both of Cape Coral are accused of attempting to use high beam red and blue flashing lights from a smartphone to pull over a driver in North Cape Coral.

It happened on Chiquita Boulevard North. A driver called police and told them a vehicle behind him was flashing red and blue lights across the front windshield, and he began to stop because he thought an unmarked police car was pulling him over.

The driver realized as the vehicle got closer to him that it was a Nissan Altima and that made him feel unsure if it was really a police officer behind him. So, he called police and gave them the license plate number.

Police found the suspect’s vehicle as it made a moving violation so they stopped it. At that time, Torres was driving and Iturbe was the front seat passenger, and police discovered they used a combination of flashing their car’s high beams and used a Youtube video of flashing red and blue lights on Iturbe’s cell phone, according to police.

Cape police said: “…this particular case looks to be a criminally stupid prank”- but added that cases like it can be dangerous.

“Impersonators can have dangerous motives for trying to stop members of the public, and impersonators like this shake public confidence and make people second guess real police officers conducting legitimate law enforcement duties,” said CCPD Sergeant Dana Coston.

Back at the police station, police say Torres’ mother was creating a scene and had to be detained. She told officers her son was a rising soccer star and couldn’t afford to get in trouble.

Police say they should have thought of that before deciding to commit a felony.

We went to both of the teens’ homes, and spoke with Torres’ mother by phone, who said she believes the boys meant no harm.

Police say the man who the teens pulled over did everything right by calling 911 with he noticed something was amiss.

 

Girl, 12, took mom’s car for joy ride, got jail ride instead July 10, 2014

A 12-year-old girl was pulled over Tuesday morning for speeding on North Pine Avenue in Ocala.

sfl-flduh-moms-car-joy-ride-20140709-001The girl — who had taken her mother’s car without permission to visit a friend — ended up being arrested after she gave the officer a bogus name and age, according to the Ocala Police Department.

Officer William Joedicke was doing radar checks in the 800 block of North Pine when he noticed the white Chrysler in a southbound lane going 52 in a 35-mph zone.

He followed the vehicle, which turned right onto West Silver Spring Springs Boulevard. The driver stopped after several blocks.

Joedicke asked the girl for her driver’s license and registration, according to an OPD report. She told him she had lost her license and didn’t have the registration.

She did give him a date of birth, but only after thinking about it and asking her 15-year-old passenger, a friend, if she had it right.

The officer checked the information and determined it was false. He asked her to get out of the car, and she was taken to the juvenile detention center.

The girl’s mother was notified and was upset, officials said.

The girl told the officer that she was on her way to a friend’s home to talk with her because the friend was having problems. The girl waited until her mother was asleep before taking the keys and her wallet.

Her mother told Joedicke the girl’s real age, which is 12. The girl told him she didn’t know why she hadn’t told him the truth.

 

BUSted: Boy, 12, took school bus on 14-mile cross-county jaunt June 26, 2014

sfl-flduh-school-bus-joy-ride-20140625-001 Deputies have arrested a 12-year-old boy after an early morning joy ride across the county in a school bus.

Employees of the Wal-Mart at 10270 Front Beach Road notified aBay County deputy of a school bus awkwardly maneuvering through the parking lot at about 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to a news release. Though not causing a safety concern, it seemed strange the driver could not quite figure out how to park.

“It was just odd the way they were driving it,” said Roy Hoover, a Wal-Mart employee. “He was having a hard time parking it, like he’d never drove one before.”

When the deputy pulled behind bus 746 with his emergency lights on, young driver Michael Wade Propst stepped out. He initially said a man named “ Constantine ” asked him to get gas for the bus.

Deputies later discovered the school bus had been taken overnight from a residence at 508 Maine Ave. in Parker, and driven nearly flawlessly across Bay County to the Front Beach Road Wal-Mart. The actual bus driver apparently had left the keys in the bus, and Propst admitted to taking it by himself, police reports stated. The child’s motive is unknown.

No disciplinary action was taken against the bus driver Tuesday, but Superintendent of Schools Bill Husfelt said he plans to meet with the bus driver today.

Deputies contacted the child’s mother, who asked deputies to talk to him “since she was not having any impact on him,” an incident report said.

 

 
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