The Bizarre World of Florida

It takes ten minutes for police to use batons, stun guns, and a dog to subdue naked man wielding a “large clock” February 10, 2014

In a melee that lasted at least 10 minutes, a squad of deputies used batons, a police dog, a stun gun and all their might to subdue a male they said walked into a neighbor’s house on Saturday and stripped off his clothes before attacking a teenager.

The incident marks the second time in less than a week that Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office deputies have confronted a naked person who seemed to be on a violent rampage while displaying unusual physical strength.

fl-palm-naked-rampage-follo-20140206Conrad Hopper, 17, who deputies said appeared be in the throes of “excited delirium,” now faces a host of charges after he fought with deputies while wielding a “large clock, which had numerous sharp utensils protruding from its entire border,” according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report. One deputy suffered a fractured arm.

On Tuesday, Sheriff’s Office deputies said they were forced to shoot and kill another naked aggressor after he bit a man in the face. Anesson Joseph, 28, was killed outside the Colony apartment complex in West Delray after attacking at least three people, police said.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Joseph’s rampage may have been fueled by drugs, but it wasn’t yet known what caused the outburst.

The latest outbreak of violence began about 6 p.m. Saturday when police said they responded to reports of a burglary in the 9200 block of Bracelet Drive in unincorporated Lake Worth. A 15-year-old boy told two arriving officers that he was feeding the dogs at his aunt’s house when Hopper walked through the unlocked front door.

The 15-year-old told police that Hopper, whom he knew from the neighborhood, seemed to be intoxicated but not drunk.

Hopper touched the teen’s face, the teen told deputies, and tried to remove the teen’s glasses. Hopper then took all his clothes off while shouting nonsense, deputies said.

Jason Valentine, 35, the brother of the homeowner, said the teenager fled into the backyard, where he used a trampoline to elude Hopper by jumping over a fence and running for home a block away.

An arriving deputy said he could see Hopper “walking around completely naked inside of the residence in a menacing manner.”

“He was breaking random things inside the house and still shouting nonsensical things such as, ’5,6,7,8, grandma, girlfriend,1,2,3,4,’” the deputy wrote. “Conrad was moving erratically around the kitchen with clinched fists and pacing aimlessly.”

When he came out the back door, armed with the clock, Hopper took a defensive stance, deputies said. Hopper refused to obey orders, so a deputy released the dog.

“Conrad immediately began to punch the dog’s head with closed fists and attempted to gouge out the dog’s eyes,” deputies wrote.

Two more officers arrived. Hopper was hit with a baton and officers triggered a dart-firing stun gun, which knocked Hopper down, they said.

He was finally fitted with steel cuffs, but it “did not change Conrad’s temperament as he continued to kick at deputies and thrash around violently,” deputies reported.

“At one point Conrad was able to free himself from one of the handcuffs and continued to punch and thrash around,” deputies said.

Officers put Hopper in a hobble leg restraint, but even then he got one hand free and “continued to punch and thrash around,” the report stated.

Six more officials, including Sheriff’s Office deputies and Palm Beach Fire Rescue firefighters, arrived to join in and eventually all were able to Hopper onto a backboard stretcher, police said.

Valentine, who lives nearby, said he arrived in time to see Hopper strapped to a gurney and still struggling as he was wheeled to the ambulance.

Hopper was given a shot of Valium, “which still had no effect in calming him down,” police said. He was taken to Wellington Regional Medical Center.

Hopper is now facing charges of burglary, criminal mischief, resisting arrest with violence, four counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and one count of battery of a police dog.


‘Polite’ driver shed clothes, touched self while checking out woman in Publix parking lot January 29, 2014

os-publix-minivan-driver-touched-himself-20140-001The public is being asked to help deputies in Osceola County find a minivan driver who took off some of his clothes and touched himself after an encounter with a woman in a Publix parking lot in Kissimmee.

A woman told deputies a man driving a white minivan approached her and asked for directions at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the grocery-store parking lot at 8301 Champions Gate Boulevard.

“The male kept asking questions and even complimented her on the car she was driving. The male then opened his driver door which startled the female so she drove away,” Osceola County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Twis Lizasuain said in an email Monday.

“As she was driving away, she turned her head and noticed the male was starting to stand up and he was partially clothed inappropriately touching himself. The male drove through the McDonald’s parking lot and traveled down South Goodman Road.”

Lizasuain released a composite image of the driver in hopes of generating tips.


How a 13-year-old became a dancer at a strip club in Miami Beach January 18, 2014

Strip clubs have been striving to clean up their image. The uproar over a 13-year-old dancer won’t help with that.

untitledIt’s early evening, and the dancers are beginning to trickle in to an Art Deco theater in the heart of South Beach, a place with a neon-lit facade that serves a mixed-gender clientele, from local businessmen and high-rollers to tourists, celebrities and swingers.

For more than two decades, Club Madonna, billed as Miami Beach’s only all-nude strip joint, at 15th and Washington, has been known not for what it has, but mostly for what it doesn’t have _ a shred of clothing on its dancers or an ounce of booze behind its bar.

A dry club on South Beach is a little like a having a Miami Beach vacation without the beach, a detail that the club’s owner and the city’s political overseers have been at war over since the turn of the century.

But now, the club _ long vilified by some as a sleazy blight on the city’s otherwise glittery, iconic image _ is getting attention for something entirely new and especially unwholesome, not to mention illegal.

On Friday, the city pulled the club’s license in the wake of allegations that it allowed a 13-year-old girl, allegedly caught up in a human sex trafficking scheme, to dance naked on stage.

The girl, a runaway, told police that she agreed to dance at the club, but was later forced to turn over her earnings to her pimps, two Miami men who on Monday were arrested, along with a female dancer at the club, on charges that they forced her strip and prostitute herself.

When she told investigators how she was allegedly able to easily slip into a South Beach strip club and dance her way onto stage naked _ without anyone seeming to take notice of her age _ it brought renewed attention to Club Madonna, as well as to an adult entertainment industry, that has spent decades trying to overcome its negative image.

The uproar over the 13-year-old dancer is not likely to boost that image makeover.

Joe Rodriguez, owner of Cheetah Gentlemen’s Clubs, who has been in the business for 45 years, said the art of concocting a phony ID has made tremendous advances in recent years.

“Some of these girls come and in and they really look older than they are,” he said. “They bring in IDs, you have to almost be in the FBI sometimes to tell if they are fake.”


LeRoy Griffith, who has owned Madonna from the time, 40 years ago, when it was a regular movie house that showed spaghetti westerns, said he still doesn’t know for sure whether the teen, who used the stage name “Peaches,” actually danced at the club. He was on a New Year’s cruise at the time of the affair, and his head manager, on the job only two months, was also on holiday.

What he does know is that all his dancers sign contracts and provide identification, showing they are at least 18 years old _ and he has neither for the 13-year-old, identified in police reports as “D.J.”

“If she danced, then the club made a mistake,” Griffith said. “And if we did, it’s the first time in 20 years. It won’t happen again, I can tell you that.”

The girl, Griffith said, told one of his dancers, Marlene San Vicente, 22, that she had her baby taken away from her and was trying to figure out a way to get her back. The Miami Herald could not confirm whether the girl in fact had had a baby.

“She was babysitting my dancer’s children and she was turning tricks,” Griffith said. “My dancer felt sorry for her and told her that she could earn some money by dancing instead, so she called one of my managers one night and told him that she was bringing in a friend.”

Griffith said the 13-year-old showed the manager a false license showing that she was 18.

According to police, however, the girl claimed the club’s managers never asked her for anything to verify her age. San Vicente bought her sexy clothes, tutored her on how to dance and paid to have her nails and hair done, according to the police reports.

The girl told police she worked the club on Dec. 27 and 28 and Jan. 2, 3 and 4. Each night she was forced to turn over her earnings, ranging from $120 to $500 a night, to her pimps, identified by police as Dwayne Ward, 18, Vilbert Jean, 37, and a third man, only identified as “AP.”

At the time she was living in Miami, in a multi-unit house near Miami’s Morningside Park, after having run away from home with two 15-year-old girls in early December, police said.

They all wound up at the White House Inn, a two-story motel on the water in North Miami. There, they met AP, who allegedly offered to take the girls to the 55th Terrace house where he said they could stay while on the run.

Jean, who also lived on the premises, “immediately noticed” that the girls seemed to be under age, and asked them to leave, according to the police report. The 15-year-olds did. But the 13-year-old told them she was 18 and stayed, police said.

D.J. agreed to have sex in exchange for money, but when the men kept the money and began demanding she pay rent, she became frustrated with the arrangement. Ward suggested she prostitute herself on a website used by escort services, but she refused. That’s when San Vicente offered to help her out by introducing her to exotic dancing.

Griffith said San Vicente, whose stage name is “Ayaya,” has danced for him off and on for years. When she bonded out of jail on Tuesday, San Vicente came into the club to work, Griffith said. She told him she was sorry for all the trouble she caused.

“She said she just was trying to help out the girl and didn’t know she was 13,” Griffith said.

She was returned to jail Thursday after authorities realized she was released in error. The offense she is charged with is not bondable.


Police executed search warrants and collected the club’s video tapes and other evidence to determine whether the girl actually did take the stage and whether she performed lap dances.

“She did not look 13,” said Mike Kalbach, the club’s manager. Kalbach said his employees told him her physical attributes made her look much older.

Kalbach worked the Las Vegas strip club circuit for 25 years before coming to South Beach. Underage dancers are very rare in Las Vegas, he said, because dancers are required to have identification provided by the county’s sheriff’s department in order to work in the clubs. The sheriff’s department conducts background checks and verifies their ages before issuing the cards, he said.

Angelina Spencer, executive director of the Florida Chapter of the Association of Club Executives (ACE) and the Florida Sunshine Entertainment Association, said the industry has recognized that fake identification and human trafficking are serious issues. To that end they have instituted training programs and guidelines to help club owners navigate the laws and new technology.

She said clubs should require two forms of identification from dancers, and proof of those IDs should be kept on file.

“They should have been checking IDs. There can’t be a ‘whoops!’ ” Spencer said.

Rodriguez said Palm Beach County has a program similar to Las Vegas, where clubs can only hire dancers who have licenses issued by the county.

“They do a background check, and if they don’t have an entertainer’s license, that means they can’t dance,” he said.


The adult entertainment business has changed a lot in the past four decades, or so the industry likes to say.

Rodriguez remembers a time when the dancers would be foulmouthed, high on drugs and alcohol, and fight and throw bottles. Today, he insists, they are college students, housewives and other professionals who work eight-hour shifts.

“They are hard-working girls,” he said. “Just people trying to make a living. I got to tell you, the business has evolved in such a good way.”

Luke Lirot, a lawyer who has represented the adult entertainment industry since the late 1980s and is counsel for the Florida chapter of Association of Club Executives, said many clubs classify exotic dancers as contractors.

Rather than being on the payroll, dancers today pay the club for the privilege of performing on stage, coughing up money _ normally called a house fee _ to the owners, ranging from $10 to $100, depending on the club.

Dancers at Club Madonna pay the club $45 to $100 depending on the shift they work, with women working the busier shifts paying the most money. For lap dances, which cost $25, the house keeps $10, and the dancer keeps $15, Griffith said.

As in most clubs, the women get to keep their tips, but have to tip the deejay and the bartender, although since Club Madonna doesn’t serve alcohol, there is no bartender in the classic sense. The booze ban is something Griffith has been agitated over for years. He has sued the city multiple times to try to overturn its prohibition on alcohol sales at fully nude clubs such as his. The latest scandal is the last thing he wanted to happen.

Miami criminal defense attorney David Weinstein, a former state and federal prosecutor, said it is a second-degree felony to allow a person under the age of 18 to engage in a sexual performance, defined by law as a performance exhibiting genitals or performing a dance, such a lap dance, where the dancer is touching someone to create sexual arousal.

Human trafficking, or commercial sexual exploitation, is a life felony, punishable by a life sentence.

“He owns and operates a nightclub. Therefore he is responsible for what happens there,” Weinstein said. “If he has an employee who hasn’t conducted proper background checks, he is as guilty as they are of what takes place.”

Griffith’s feud with the city dates back to 2004, when, after winning a preliminary vote for a liquor license, he lost a final vote after two elected officials _ including then-Commissioner Jose Smith (now the city attorney) reversed their support. Jane Gross, wife of then-Commissioner Saul Gross, then waged an opposition campaign, and students and parents at a nearby elementary school showed up at City Hall to protest Griffith’s effort to get a liquor license.

Griffith filed a slander and libel suit against Gross, saying she had wrongly called him a tax-evader _ when he had merely disputed an IRS debt _ and alleged she smeared him by comparing his website to a pornographic website that wasn’t his.

Then, he accused city officials of trying to extort him into paying $30,000 of Gross’ legal fees in order to settle and reconsider his bid to sell alcohol. City officials denied it, but the Miami-Dade ethics commission concluded that they pushed “their collegial bonds over the ethical line.”

In recent weeks, he seemed better positioned to get his liquor license, since most of his adversaries had failed to get re-elected.

One of his most ardent adversaries, however, remains well entrenched in city politics _ Jose Smith.

“This is, without a doubt, a vendetta by Jose Smith,” said Griffith’s attorney, Richard Wolfe, who added that the city overstepped its authority in pulling the club’s license without evidence.

Smith’s response? “I would say that this case is not about me. It’s about the exploitation of a 13-year old child,” he said, adding that any further comments “would be made in court.”

The decision to pull Madonna’s permit was made by City Manager Jimmy Morales, not Smith.

“It’s obvious he is not a loved person in Miami Beach,” Weinstein said of Griffith. “They would like nothing more than to close him down and send him on his way.”


Pantsless Male Motorist In “Female Underwear” Arrested On Way To Lowe’s Store January 16, 2014

guywableA pantsless male motorist wearing “female underwear” was traveling to “get something from the Lowe’s store” when he was pulled over and arrested for driving with a suspended license, Florida police report.

A sheriff’s deputy on patrol Friday night noticed that a 1991 Buick “did not have any back lights activated and the right head light was also not functioning,” according to an incident report.

After initiating a traffic stop, the cop discovered that driver Guy Wable, 48, “was not wearing any pants and was wearing female underwear.”

This, however, is not a crime.

Wable, pictured above, was instead busted because he was driving with a suspended license. Since this was the third time he was charged with that offense, Wable was hit with a felony count and booked into the Manatee County jail. After a night in custody, Wable was freed Saturday on $750 bond (which was posted by Big Johnson Bail Bonds). He is scheduled for arraignment on February 14.

According to Deputy Fraicor Terrero, Wable admitted knowing that his license was suspended, but explained that he drove anyway “because he had to get something” from Lowe’s. While the home improvement store sells work pants, the retailer does not stock men’s underwear.


Casual dining? Diner accused of taking off his clothes at Chili’s January 14, 2014

sfl-flduh-taking-off-his-clothes-chilis-201401-001A man removed his pants and T-shirt while sitting in a Chili’s but exacerbated his disorderly conduct by spitting at a deputy, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

At about 11 p.m. Wednesday, Letrail Tresalus, 24, of Palmetto, suddenly stood up from his seat at the Chili’s restaurant and bar at 3715 1st St. and removed his pants and T-shirt, according to a sheriff’s office report.

Tresalus then began to swear and yell at Chili’s employees, the report adds.

Tresalus put his clothes back on but raised his hands to the Chili’s manager when he was confronted about his behavior, the report states.

A deputy arrived and placed Tresalus in his patrol car. During the drive to the jail, Tresalus, who was in the backseat, put his face up to the patrol cage and spit on the back of the deputy’s head, according to the report.

He was taken into the jail with no further incident, the report adds.


Urine trouble now: Man accused of taking a whiz during his arrest January 8, 2014

Evidently it’s possible to drink five gallons of vodka in a single day.

At least, that’s a conclusion one could draw from John Harper’s accounting of events December 22.

sfl-flduh-gallons-of-vodka-20140107-001Martin County Sheriff’s deputies around 1:50 p.m. encountered Harper, 46, at Stuart Beach where a witness reported a man was stumbling toward a vehicle in the back of the parking lot, according to a recently released sheriff’s report.

A deputy told Harper, who smelled of booze and had slurred speech, that several beachgoers called the sheriff’s office, expressing concerns for his safety.

Asked how much alcohol he’d consumed that day, Harper said, “Five gallons of vodka” — an amount equivalent to 427 shots.

A day spent downing five gallons of vodka, which some mix with tonic water or cranberry juice, likely, if not definitely, would kill even the most seasoned imbibers.

“At this time, without warning, Harper pulled his shorts and underwear down below his exposed buttocks and began urinating in the parking lot in full view of children and adults,” a report states.

An investigator told Harper to “cease and desist this activity to no avail.”

A breath test measured Harper’s blood alcohol content at 0.379 — more than four times the legal limit to drive.

Harper, of the 1700 block of Canora Road in Port St. Lucie, was arrested on charges including disorderly intoxication and exposure of sexual organs.


Nude dude scared the daylights out of his neighbors January 7, 2014

sfl-flduh-nude-dude-neighbors-20140106-001Neighbors woke up at the crack of dawn Saturday, deputies say, to Morris Reynolds’ voice. They looked up the street to see him in front of a home, jumping up and down, stark naked.

One neighbor called 911. When a deputy arrived at 1869 Tinsmith Circle, a Pasco sheriff’s report states, Reynolds, 25, squared off against him, shouting and cussing. As Deputy Bryan Mobley grabbed his radio to call for backup, Reynolds lunged and slapped the deputy in the face with both hands “using maximum force,” according to the report.

Reynolds tried to grab Mobley around his middle. The two struggled until Mobley was able to loop a handcuff on Reynolds’ wrist. Another deputy arrived and was able to cuff Reynolds’ other hand.

Reynolds, of 11731 Elm St. in San Antonio, was arrested on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer with violence. He was released from the Land O’Lakes jail Sunday on $10,000 bail.


South Florida nudist says naked pictures of his daughters are family portraits January 6, 2014

South-Florida-nudist-says-naked-pictures-of-his-daughters-are-family-portraitsA South Florida man is defending himself in court after being charged with taking pornographic photographs of his three young daughters and sharing them by saying that the photos are standard family portraits for a nudist family.

A grand jury didn’t agree with the assessment of Brian Martens and voted to indict the 53-year-old on one count of producing child pornography and one count of receiving child pornography.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bill Matthewman viewed the photographs during a hearing Wednesday in federal court in West Palm Beach.

“Several of these photos the court has reviewed are lascivious. … They are, in the court’s opinion, sexually explicit,” Matthewman said.

Martens is being held without bail because he is a flight risk and he poses “a clear risk of danger to the community, and specifically to his daughters.”

According to prosecutors, the girls were between ages 8 and 12 when the photographs were taken.

James Eisenberg, Marten’s attorney, said that his client hired a professional family photographer to take the shots while he was living at a nudist colony.

“The girls have no clothes on … but they’re not doing anything of a sexual nature,” Eisenberg said. “If they were young ladies who had clothing on, no one would consider them pornographic. Totally nude … is the normal state of all the people who live there. In the context that everybody in this family are naturists … these photos are not lewd or pornographic in any way.”

Martens’ attorney did, however, agree that one photo the judge described as a closeup of a girl’s genital area, to be pornographic, but claimed Martens did not know the shot was taken and did not give permission for such a photo.

But federal agents found that this was not the case.

Homeland Security Investigations agents took notice of Martens earlier this year when they found the photos of his daughters on a computer belonging to Leslie Vanaman, 44, a neighbor in the private Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort in Loxahatchee Groves.

The owner of A Shade of Grey Photography, who billed himself as a family portrait photographer despite a seeming reference to the popular erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey, is serving 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges, including photographs of the Martens girls.

Agents discovered Martens had signed numerous releases and received and shared numerous pornographic images of children. Investigators also uncovered emails between Martens, the photographer and another man discussing the photographer’s “craft” and “the sensuality and sexuality” of the images.

Martens, who has pleaded not guilty, is facing between 15 and 30 years in federal prison if convicted of the child porn production charge, and five to 20 years if convicted of receiving child pornography.


Man arrested for touching himself while following a store customer December 13, 2013

sfl-flduh-exposed-touched-bealls-20131212-001A 26-year-old man touched himself in a lustful way as he followed a customer around a Bealls store in Sanford on Friday, according to police.

The “lewd and lascivious” act landed Dwight Eddington Jr, of Sanford, in jail for indecent exposure.

The incident occurred at the Bealls near the Seminole Towne Center in Sanford.

Around 6 p.m., the store’s security guard watched Eddington as he walked around the store, Sanford police reported.

When the guard went to look at surveillance video, he saw that Eddington “had exposed his genitals and continued to touch himself while walking around the store,” according to the arrest report.

The guard told police Eddington looked to be following a customer around the store.

Once police arrived at the store, they asked Eddington was he was doing. He denied committing any inappropriate sexual acts.

He told police “that he had an itch and had to expose himself in order to scratch,” according to the arrest report.

Eddington has since been released from jail.


Save for the full beard and tattoos, Jon Erik Meyer was naked November 24, 2013

jon_meyer_mug_front-thumb-150x181-14863Save for the full beard and tattoos, Jon Erik Meyer was naked.

Which wouldn’t have been of note if Meyer, 22, was in the confines of a private residence. Problem is, the nude dude was on a sidewalk in the central business district of Sebastian, according to a recently released arrest affidavit.

Meyer told Sebastian police he’d been walking from Columbus, Ga., and was going to Miami.

The case began about 11:56 p.m. Nov. 11 as an officer was dispatched to Main Street and U.S. 1 regarding “a naked suspicious person walking south on the sidewalk,” an affidavit states.

A corporal reported seeing Meyer, saying he was “completely naked” when she arrived.

Meyer seemed confused and didn’t know where he was. He did say he was walking from Columbus, Ga., to Miami — a more than 600 mile trip.

When asked where his clothes were he stated that he took them all off while he was walking on the sidewalk,” the affidavit states.

The affidavit didn’t state whether Meyer walked au naturel beginning in Georgia or in Florida.

Meyer, who smelled slightly of alcohol, said he’d taken a cough suppressant.

Meyer, listed as homeless, was arrested on a disorderly intoxication charge and taken to the Indian River County jail.





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