The Bizarre World of Florida

No officer and no gentleman: Fake Navy Seal allegedly stole from good Samaritans September 11, 2014

It was no surprise when some folks in Daytona Beach took a Navy SEAL, who said his wallet was stolen, under their wing.

UntitledThe accused imposter told the folks at Daytona Inn and Neptune’s Sports Pub his name was Alex Seppi, a Navy SEAL being deployed to Afghanistan in a matter of days who was in need of a little rest and money to get to base.

Seppi, also known as 47-year-old Schoen Labombard, has a long criminal history of fraud charges.

“This probably did help somebody. He won’t be able to do it again for a long time,” said Jim Brittain, who owns Neptune’s Sports Pub and fed the accused fraud.

The owners of the attached hotel put him in an ocean front room. Brittain lent Labombard $500 after the suspect said his wallet was stolen and he needed to get to his Tampa base. Apparently Labombard had somebody helping him, too.

“We got a phone call from someone who said he was his commanding officer thanking us for helping him,” Brittain said. “I said, ‘No problem. That’s what we do.'”

When Labombard broke his leg climbing a fence on Main Street one night when he was out with his new friends, they got him to the hospital and went to his hotel room to secure it for him. That’s when they found a temporary license with Labombard’s real name.

Waitress Marilyn Ritz, furious that the suspect had ripped off her boss, turned the tables on the accused fraud and went to the hospital without telling him she knew the truth.

“It was very hard for me to keep my cool in the hospital with him and not want to do something to him but I did not, in order to get the picture of him,” Ritz said.

Turns out Labombard is wanted in New York state for impersonating an officer and larceny. He’s done prison time in New York for previous frauds.


Couple locking lips in patrol car were trying to unlock handcuffs September 10, 2014

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Dumb,Florida Nut,Fraud,Really Dumb,Silly,Stupid,Unusual,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:10 pm

It was wild, daring and romantic: Two sweethearts handcuffed in the back of a patrol car shared a kiss, an earring and an escape attempt that led to a short-lived romp.

In the end, however, burglary suspect Jonathan Kokontis wound up trying to steal a car that wouldn’t start and with a police dog’s teeth clamped to his arm, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

Kokontis, 25, a two-time ex-convict from Winter Springs, is now in the Seminole County Jail on a long list of charges including burglary, escape and robbery.

His girlfriend, Melissa Elaine Schneider, 27, an entertainer at Dancers Royale, an adult nightclub in Orlando, was being held on $11,000 bail on a variety of charges, including providing contraband to a suspected felon.

The misadventure that landed the couple in jail began Saturday, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office reported, when residents called to complain about a string of four car burglaries near U.S. Highway 17-92 in Fern Park. Someone was rummaging through their vehicles.

The callers mentioned a suspicious man. Later in the day, a witness called back, saying she had spotted the man again and, this time, there was a woman in pink shorts with him.

Deputies found Schneider — who was wearing pink shorts — but Kokontis ran, the Sheriff’s Office reported. He was found a short time later, hiding in a shed, and both suspects wound up handcuffed in the same patrol car.

Kokontis’ hands were cuffed behind his back but he managed to wiggle around so that his hands were in front of him.

Schneider rubbed her head against Kokontis’ chest, causing her earring to fall onto the car seat, according to an arrest report. He picked it up and spent several minutes trying to unlock his cuffs with it, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

He failed, and Schneider then reached inside her bra, pulled out something that she slipped into her mouth then kissed Kokontis, passing the item — whatever it was — to him.

Deputies did not identify what it was. A short time later, a deputy saw that the pair was working to get free and pulled Kokontis out of the car to recuff him, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Kokontis then shoved the deputy and took off running, the Sheriff’s Office reported, while Schneider yelled, “(expletive) run, Jonathan, (expletive) run” and laughed.

He “burst through a nearby fence” and went inside a home, where a man was sleeping on the couch, and demanded a set of car keys, according to his arrest report. The homeowner handed over his keys, but when Kokontis tried to start the vehicle, he discovered it would not start, so he ran to another home. But no one was there so he grabbed a pickax and refused to come out.

Deputies could hear Kokontis yell, “I’m dangerous,” the Sheriff’s Office reported. He apparently also was clumsy: He spilled a bucket of white paint while inside, according to his arrest report.

He was arrested after deputies sent in a police dog, which clamped down on his arm. Kokontis was then taken to a hospital,then to jail.

On Saturday, deputies uncuffed Schneider and released her, but she was arrested the next day, accused of beating a pregnant woman who had asked for a cigarette on Sept. 5 and after a deputy found a baggie of marijuana in Schneider’s purse.

Kokontis also was accused of striking the pregnant woman on Sept. 5.

He is an ex-convict who’s had two stints in state prison. His most recent was a three-year sentence for a string of crimes in Orange County, including aggravated assault, theft, burglary and trafficking in stolen property.

He also served a year in prison in 2008 for a pair of Orange County burglaries.

At the time of his arrest, he was on drug-offender probation in Seminole County. He was sentenced last month to five years of probation for credit card fraud, petty theft and giving a pawn broker false information.


It looks like these customers got taken for a ride September 8, 2014

A man is facing charges after Daytona Beach police said he posed as a valet attendant at the Caribbean Jack’s Restaurant and stole two luxury cars in August.

“Any business this can happen to, you just don’t know. Who would expect it?” said Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

sfl-flduh-valet-stole-luxury-cars-20140905-001Police said 43-year-old Giovanni Salletti stole his first high-end car Aug. 17 around 8 p.m.

“He told (the victim) he would valet the cars, she gave him the keys and he said he would bring the valet ticket to her table. She went into the restaurant and he drove off,” said Chitwood.

Police said Salletti got away in a 2008 Mercedes Benz and came back just days later to steal again.

On Aug. 22, police said an officer spotted Salletti looking suspicious, took down his information and left just hours before Salletti struck again. Police said this time, Salletti grabbed keys from the valet kiosk and drove away in a 2008 BMW worth $85,000. It wasn’t until police got ahold of surveillance video that they put two and two together.

“Once officers got that video and when the officer recognized him from the field stop, it came together very quickly,” said Chitwood.

Not only did police track down Salletti, they said they recovered both cars at his apartment complex.

“That’s some of the dangers of using a valet service. There is always somebody lurking and jerking around there that can make you a victim,” said Chitwood.

Salletti is in the Volusia County Jail charged with two counts of grand theft auto. Police said he was already wanted on a probation violation for carjacking.


Backyard paradise on a budget? Here’s a non-neighborly plan

Filed under: Bizzarre,Disrespectful,Dumb,Fraud,Really Dumb,Robbers,Silly,Stupid,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:36 pm

Dennis Carlo was said to have a nice backyard at his Deltona home featuring potted plants, statues and windmills.

The problem? The items were stolen, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

sfl-flduh-backayrd-windmills-stolen-20140907-001The 66-year-old man was arrested Saturday at his home on Lino Court, deputies said. Authorities say the man stole the first items on Aug. 18 wen several potted palm plants from her front yard, followed by more thefts a couple days later.

Then on Aug. 21 a large angel statue was stolen from front yard of another home in the same neighborhood. In all, seven victims reported various lawn furniture and plants stolen, according to deputies.

Victim surveillance video captured the suspect and his gold Toyota, which deputies found parked outside his home, said Brandon Haught, sheriff’s office public information officer.

“The car was surrounded by a yard full of neatly arranged potted plants, large angel statues and windmills,” Haught said in a press release. “All of the plants were secured to a surrounding fence with zip ties in what appeared to be an attempt to prevent them from being stolen.”

Carlo admitted to stealing some of the items, Haught said. The items, which were all in good condition and well cared for, were returned to their owners, he said.

Carlo was charged with seven counts of petty theft. He remains at the Volusia County Jail on a 1,750 bond.


For a softer, more gentle approach to drug trafficking, use Snuggle to smuggle September 5, 2014

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Controversy,Dangerous Nut,Drugs,Fraud,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 12:59 pm

Local drug agents recovered condoms filled with cocaine from a bottle of Snuggle fabric softener Tuesday and charged a 34-year-old man with trafficking the drug.

sfl-flduh-drug-snuggle-smuggle-20140904-001According to agents with the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team, they stopped a 2006 Chrysler sport utility vehicle driven by Ramon Lemus-Ortiz at Northwest 110th Avenue and Northwest 12th Place for a traffic violation.

Authorities said Ortiz appeared nervous and gave them permission to search the SUV. Officers found a black bag that contained toiletries, such as soap and toothpaste, as well as a bottle of Snuggle fabric softener.

Inside the bottle were two condoms, one of which contained 71 baggies of cocaine; the second contained 57 baggies of the drug. The cocaine, in total, weighed 73 grams, according to reports.

Ortiz told agents that a man had paid him $200 to deliver the drugs to someone at a location off County Road 326. He was arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine and was taken to the Marion County Jail. He was booked at 8:13 p.m. Tuesday and was released at 1:58 a.m. Wednesday on $20,000 bond.

The SUV was registered to Ortiz’s wife and the vehicle was released to her, officials said.

Ortiz was born in Mexico. His listed address is in Walla-Walla, Washington.

UntitledHe told a Star-Banner reporter that he shows horses for a living and is expected to be in Keeneland, Kentucky, to show horses in a couple of days. He said he did not know what was in the bag, which had been given to him by someone he sees often during local horse sales.

Court records show that Ortiz was arrested for possession of cocaine in November 2010. In late January 2011, the charge was dropped on the grounds that he had been deported.

The same documents indicate that Ortiz’ wife sent a letter to a judge in mid-January 2011 stating that her husband had been released from the jail to U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement officials and was deported to Mexico. She added that a judge had asked for proof of deportation and for her to bring it to her husband’s next court date. She said she had requested the forms but was told it could take up to three weeks to receive them.

In the letter she noted, “I am working on getting him legal to come back to the USA but that also may take months, even years.” She requested more time to get the proof as requested by the judge.

It was not immediately clear when Ortiz returned to the United States.


Man posed as cop to contact ex-girlfriend September 3, 2014

An 18-year-old is accused of impersonating a police officer in order to get in contact with his ex-girlfriend while she was at work.

sfl-flduh-posed-cop-exgirlfriend-20140902-001Brenden Remel’s first run-in with law enforcement was August 9, when Oviedo police said an argument between Remel and his ex-girlfriend turned physical.

“We’ve seen these types of incidents escalate in the past,” said Lt. Mike Beavers with Oviedo police.

Remel allegedly put his ex-girlfriend in a headlock and punched her multiple times that night. Investigators said the victim then got a restraining order against Remel.

According to police, Remel called the victim 50 times following the incident, and later called her workplace claiming to be a police officer. Officers said the teenager even provided a badge number.

“When someone identifies themselves as a law enforcement officer, in this case even though it was over the telephone, it is a felony of the third degree to do so,” said Beavers.

According to an arrest report, Remel told the employee he needed to talk with a doctor at the workplace because she was facing felony charges.

The teen was later arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer, stalking and violating an injunction. Channel 9 went to Remel’s home to get his side of the story, but no one there would discuss the case.


Smartphone, dumb selves? Selfies lead cops to theft suspects August 27, 2014

Filed under: Dumb,Fraud,Really Dumb,Robbers,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:43 pm

Ormond Beach police recovered a stolen phone after they said a couple stole it from a hostess at the Bonefish Restaurant Tuesday night.

sfl-flduh-selfies-smartphone-thieves-20140825-001Police said 27-year-old Bryce Dolph and his girlfriend walked in to pick up their food and walked out with the cellphone instead. However, it didn’t take long for police to track them down.

The couple allegedly took several pictures of themselves and posted them on Facebook. The pictures were also uploaded to the victim’s Google Plus account and she was able to turn them over to police. The social media site is a backup for storing pictures and videos that can be seen anytime a person logs into their Google account.

Police quickly tracked down Dolph and arrested him.

He is in the Volusia County jail on $23,500 bond. He’s charged with contribute to delinquency/dependency of a minor and two counts of grand theft.

The girl who police said was also involved is a juvenile and wasn’t arrested in this case.

Police said both admitted to stealing the phone to support their drug habits.



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