The Bizarre World of Florida

Man kept nephew chained in trailer a pot-growing operation October 28, 2011

Troy Howell, 29, kept his 18-year-old nephew chained up to a bed in his mobile home in Baker County to keep him from escaping and possibly ratting out his pot-growing operation, reports The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.

mug_HowellTR.gifBaker County authorities found the 18-year-old chained in a room Wednesday  afternoon when they raided a mobile home where an “elaborate” marijuana  cultivation was set up, Sheriff Joey Dobson said.

More than 100 marijuana plants and 15 pounds of processed pot were reportedly found in the elaborate pot growing operation.

The teen had access to a chime in the bedroom to alert someone whenever he needed to go to the bathroom or needed something to eat, according to Baker County Sheriff’s deputies.

Guess who finally cried uncle?

Find out and get the details atThe Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.


Sentenced: Ex-teacher who sent photos of his genitalia to teen student October 21, 2011

Dennis A. Mulder, 42, a band teacher, was sentenced to  two years in prison to be followed by eight years of sex-offender probation, reports TCPalm.com in Stuart.

mug_MulderDE1.jpgAccused of sending nude photos of himself to a 14-year-old student he pleaded no contest Tuesday to transmitting harmful material to a minor and was sentenced to two years in prison to be followed by eight years of sex-offender probation.

Dennis A. Mulder, 42, was arrested March 16 after authorities accessed his cellphone account and found photos of his genitalia Mulder sent to the phone of a 14-year-old girl in one of the classes he taught at
Allapattah Flats K-8 School.

According to Assistant State Attorney Brandon White, authorities also found more than 100 text messages between Mulder and the girl. In one, he said, “My desire for you is getting stronger.”

The victim’s mother testified that she first found one of the messages March 6, and the next day her daughter attempted suicide.

“I hope you rot in hell,” she told Mulder.

Get the details at TCPalm.com in Stuart.


School-bus attendant, 70, who bit teen charged with abuse October 16, 2011

A 70-year-old former school-bus attendant faces trial for child abuse after she beat and bit a teen she said had bullied her.

The camera was on when last June when  4-foot-7-in.Hattie Yvonne Branch, a 70-year-old former school-bus attendant, confronted the much taller 14-year-old boy, striking, biting and wrestling with him, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Lakeland Senior High School teen contends that although he had threatened and cursed at Branch in the past, he had not provoked her on the day of the attack.

Now she faces a trial.

Why did she attack the teen?

Find out and get the details at theOrlando Sentinel.


Man accused of swiping $100-K from his granny October 5, 2011

The aptly-named Ryan Michael Leach, 33, was charged with on Monday with exploitation of the elderly by Sarasota County Sheriff’s investigators, according to Sheriff’s Office media release.

mug_LeachRY.jpgDetectives say Leach gained Power of Attorney over his 84-year-old granny’s accounts in 2010 and soon started leeching off of her savings, spending some of her money at bars, restaurants, hotels, theme parks, airfare, and recently bought a $14,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Detectives determined Leach took a total of $102,277 from his grandmother’s accounts.

His granny, who displays confusion and cognitive impairment, told investigators Leach said she would be placed in a nursing home if he was put in jail.

Get the details at the Sarasota County’s Sheriff’s Office release.

Photo: Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office


Bandits steal nearly everything from home September 30, 2011

Filed under: Bad Luck,Bizzarre,Mental Abuse,Robbers,Sad Story,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:00 pm

Denisse Velez was out of town looking for a new place to live when burglars pulled a truck up to her house and stole nearly everything from her home, including the appliances, and her children’s toys, reports WBBH NBC-2 in Fort Myers.

All Velez wants to do now is pack up what the burglars didn’t take and move out.

Two weeks ago, the mother of 7 decided she didn’t want to live in her neighborhood anymore because of all the crime in the area.

She went to Tampa looking for a new place to live. She returned to a nearly empty home.

The burglars pried open the front door and stole the family’s electronics, furniture, tools, kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, all the children’s clothing and toys – even their bicycles.

“They were screaming, crying- they were very sad. I had to get them out of here,” said Velez.

To top it all off, Velez discovered the burglars had stripped her ac unit, and stolen their air-handler too.

Burglars had pulled a truck up to her home and stole appliances, her children’s toys and bicycles, furniture, washer and dryer, tools, a/c handler…everything.

She was moving to escape the crime in the area.


Accused drunken woman howls ‘like a dog’ at her neighbors September 20, 2011

Meet the smokin’ hot neighbor from hell.

mug_SchwarzMar.jpgPort St. Lucie cops responded to a complaint about neighbors “riding a lawnmower down the roadway, back and forth” and also “smoking the tires” and revving the engine of another vehicle, according to a police report, reports Will Greenlee in his Off the Beat blog for TCPalm.com in Stuart.

The neighbor’s video showed an angry Merrilee Schwarz, 51, yelling and cursing and howling like a dog towards their home, after exiting a vehicle, the report states.

After Schwarz thought the cops had left the area, she walked her dog to the neighbor’s house and began howling again while holding a cup that “reeked” of booze, according to the report.

Get the DUHtails and arrest affidavit at Will Greenlee’s Off the Beat blog for TCPalm.com in Stuart.


Mentally disabled man forced to stand in ant beds September 15, 2011

If you have ever been bitten by a fire ant, you know why and how they got their name. These things are nasty! Now read this story:

When caretakers at a Plant City group home suspected a mentally disabled resident had stolen money and checks from a worker at the facility, they decided a different kind of punishment was in order, deputies say, as reported by The Tampa Tribune.

The caretakers forced the 21-year-old man to stand on fire ant hills in his bare feet and also place his hands on ant beds, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident at Florida MENTOR, also known as the Ike Smith Group Home, occurred Sunday, investigators said. The resident did not receive medical treatment until the next day, according to a report.

Quentin Shunell Amos and another caretaker told the resident they would “repeat the punishment” and threatened another witness that they would do the same to him, according to a report. That punishment was avoided because the witness told the caretakers he was allergic to ant bites. Still, deputies say they found ant bites on the feet of the witness.



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