The Bizarre World of Florida

Man choked, robbed girlfriend after she invited him to party July 16, 2014

 A man is in custody after deputies said he became enraged when his girlfriend invited him to a party, choked and robbed her before he robbed another man who tried to intervene early Tuesday.

sfl-flduh-chocked-girlfriend-party-20140715-001The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said Chadwick Bush, 21, was sleeping on a bed at the Motel 6 at 660 67th St. Cir. E. when his 23-year-old girlfriend asked if he wanted to go to a party at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Bush allegedly became enraged and pulled his girlfriend down by her hair and began to choke her and punch her in the ribs.

Another woman in the room told Bush she was calling law enforcement, but Bush did not stop. While on top of his girlfriend, he stole $40 from her front pocket.

The other woman called for her boyfriend, who was outside of the room.

The other man tried to get Bush off of Bush’s girlfriend by striking him in the side. Bush got off of his girlfriend and turned toward the other man, who told him deputies were called.

Bush then grabbed the other man’s cellphone and ran away from the area with his backpack.

Deputies saw Bush behind the nearby Comfort Inn. He ran after deputies saw him and told him to get down.

A deputy deployed a stun gun and struck Bush, who kept running.

A dog eventually found Bush hiding behind a trash bin behind iStorage, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Bush was charged with domestic battery with strangulation, strong-arm robbery and grand theft.


Fake Good Samaritan stole from woman, 89, after crash

A woman pretended to assist an 89-year-old woman who was involved in a car accident but actually stole from her, police said.

sfl-flduh-stole-woman-crash-20140715-001Orlando Police Department detectives said that Rachel Murray, 30, stopped at the scene of an accident July 4. While the victim was stuck in her car awaiting the arrival of paramedics and police, Murray allegedly started reassuring the victim.

However, investigators said that Murray was actually searching the victim’s purse and stealing her credit cards, identification and Social Security cards.

Murray left when paramedics and police arrived on the scene and made multiple transactions totaling $2,000 with the victim’s credit cards at numerous local stores, police said.

Detectives followed up with the stores where the credit cards were used and were able to identify Murray during the investigation. Detectives said many of the items purchased with the victim’s credit cards were pawned.

Murray faced a host of charges, including vehicle burglary, burglary of conveyance, theft with a victim over age 65, credit card theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, scheme to defraud and violation of a pawn broker act.

Murray was arrested Monday and booked into the Orange County Jail.

She is being held on a total bond of $60,000.


Surprise only 15 percent of this Florida town’s police force were also members of the KKK July 15, 2014

kkkPolice morale in Fruitland Park, Florida has been shaken after a deputy chief and officer resigned when the Federal Bureau of Investigations identified them as members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement presented Chief Terry Isaacs with copies of a confidential FBI report last week that allegedly identified Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell as members of the KKK.

Earlier this year, a Florida Klan leader boasted to WFTV 9 that the organization has “police officers, paramedics, judges…everywhere.”

However, Chief Isaacs would only tell reporters for the Orlando Sentinel that the pair belonged to a “subversive organization,” because he did not believe he was authorized to release the results of the report.

“It’s a tough situation. He was my assistant,” he said, adding that he never witnessed any behavior that would lead him to believe former Deputy Chief Borst was in the KKK. “But I’ve read the report, and it’s convincing.”

Chief Deputy State Attorney Ric Ridgway — from whom Isaacs sought counsel concerning the FBI’s report — told the Orlando Sentinel that “it’s not a crime to be a member of the KKK, even if you are the deputy chief. It’s not a crime to be stupid. It’s not a crime to hate people. It may be despicable, it may be immoral, but it’s not a crime.”

The loss of two officers is significant for a town that only employs 13 full-time cops. “They’re a good group of people,” Isaacs said. “The last thing I was expecting to hear in the year 2014 was for a professional law-enforcement officer to be a member of a subversive organization.”

In 2009, however, another Fruitland Park officer, James Elkins, resigned after pictures emerged online of him wearing a Klan hood and robe. Elkins initially claimed that he was not involved with the organization, but eventually admitted that he was the “district Kleage,” or local recruiter, for the National Aryan Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.


Orlando TSA agents getting geography refresher … like where Washington DC is

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Disgusting,Dumb,Funny,Sad Story,Sick,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:32 pm

 file_-_TSA_security_behindIt’s something most of most students learn in elementary school — the United States is made up of 50 states and the District of Columbia. But Channel 9’s Justin Gray found out it’s a lesson that an Orlando agent with the Transportation Safety Administration seems to have missed.

Gray, who lives in Washington, D.C., was flying out of Orlando International Airport when a TSA agent said Gray’s District of Columbia driver’s license wasn’t a valid form of identification. Gray said his license is legal and up-to-date, but the TSA agent didn’t seem to know what the District of Columbia was when Gray arrived at the security checkpoint over the weekend.

When Gray handed the man his driver’s license the agent demanded to see Gray’s passport.
Grays told the agent he wasn’t carrying his passport and asked why he needed it.

The agent said he didn’t recognize the license.

Gray said he asked the agent if he knew what the District of Columbia is, and after a brief conversation Gray realized the man did not know.

Gray was able to get through security and then stopped to complain to a TSA supervisor.

Critics of the TSA said that what happened to Gray is a sign that the problems at TSA are bigger than just not knowing geography.

“They simply have not been either applying or maintaining standards for good personnel,” said Douglas Kidd, with the National Association of Airline Passengers.

A TSA spokesman contacted Gray just minutes after he tweeted about the problem. He confirmed that a District of Columbia license is an acceptable form ID.

The spokesman said, “Officers are trained to identify fraudulent documents, which can potentially deter and detect individuals attempting to circumvent this layer of security.”

“It makes you wonder what’s going on with their training and their policies,” said Kidd.

A TSA spokesman told Gray that all of the TSA agents in Orlando are being shown copies of District of Columbia driver’s license.


Charity begins at home — but can end up in court

Filed under: Abuse,Amazing,Bizzarre,Disgusting,Dumb,OK Then .....,Sad Story,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:29 pm

Suzanne Keller-Becker says she offered an old friend a place to stay to help her get back on her feet. It was only supposed to be for a few days. But then the friend’s boyfriend, a convicted felon, showed up, and the pair refused to leave.

4205671_GKeller-Becker says they started using terms like “established residency” and claimed the Tampa home was now their home, too. The boyfriend whipped out an identification card with Keller-Becker’s address on it.

“It’s like living in hell in your own home,” Keller-Becker said.

She called Tampa Police but once they heard the couple’s story, they called this a civil matter and said Keller-Becker would have to take the matter to court in order to evict the unwanted guests.

But since Keller-Becker is renting the home, she called her landlord. No good news there either. The landlord said she was now in violation of her lease for having extra people in her home. The landlord said he could evict the squatters, but he would also evict Keller-Becker, who lives in the home with her husband and 15-month-old baby, because of the cost to evict.

So she tried to co-exist with the squatters and convince them to leave.

The pair stashed a few blankets and pillows, a basket of clothes, and their cat on the porch. They slept on the floor. They ate the family’s food – and worse. Keller-Becker says she tried various things to pressure the squatters out, including removing the toilet paper.But what did the squatters do? They started using the family’s coffee filters.

“It has been crazy,” Keller-Becker said. “I can’t believe this can happen.”

She was finally at the end of her rope. After nearly a month, she called 8 On Your Side.

When the female squatter, Erisan Seibert, came home last week, our cameras were there. She would say only she was not on the lease and her friend told her she could stay. When asked why she and boyfriend Kyle Cooke won’t leave now that she’s been asked to go, she ignored the question, grabbed her cat and left.

None of this is surprises Tampa real estate attorney Joseph Kalish.

“It’s the way it is,” he said. “If you don’t enforce your rights, they’re going to be able to stay.”

The way the law is written, if you let someone stay in your home, and they claim to have established residency, the only way out is to file for eviction.

Kalish says the law will help, but it takes time. Homeowners, or tenants, can force out unwanted guests by filing a lawsuit called an “unlawful detainer.” It’s similar to an eviction but different because squatters don’t have a lease. This court action would take at least 30 days, but probably longer.

In the meantime, you could be stuck with squatters. Kalish recommends being extra careful about who you allow inside your home. If they won’t leave, police likely won’t force them to go, especially if the guests are there longer than one week. Keller-Becker says police even told her that if she changed the locks, she could be forced to let her squatters back in.

This is the third high-profile squatter story reported by 8 On Your Side in recent months.

Often, law enforcement says their hands are tied because they must recognize verbal agreements. If it’s unclear whether someone is supposed to be in a home, police often say it’s a civil matter and let a judge figure it out.

Legislator Amanda Murphy represents Pasco County, where two of the squatters claimed residency. She says the law needs to be strengthened to prevent squatters from taking over.

“We’ve reached the point that something needs to be done,” she said. “This is a very complicated issue, but we have to come up with new legislation to protect people. This could happen to anyone that tries to help someone by opening their home.”

After questions from 8 On Your Side and a call to the boyfriend’s probation officer, there was a change of heart. Keller-Becker says the pair showed up Sunday night, packed up and left.


Homeless Woman Dies After Driver Parks Car On Top Of Her July 14, 2014

Filed under: Death,Dumb,Morbid,Sad Story,Scary,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:42 pm

A transient woman was killed Tuesday night after she fell asleep in a parking space and was run over by a car, St. Petersburg police said.

Henrietta-DicksonThe incident happened at 11:30 p.m. at the Palm Garden Condo Complex, located in the 5300 block of Fourth Street N.

According to police, Henrietta Regina Dickson, 55, had either passed out or fallen asleep in an assigned parking space between two carport support pillars.

At about 11:30 p.m., a woman pulled into her assigned parking space. Police said the front of her vehicle drove over Dickson’s body, pinning the woman between the concrete parking spot and the undercarriage of the vehicle, police said.

Police said the driver felt the impact and got out of her vehicle. She saw a large tote bag, which belonged to Dickson, sticking out from beneath her car, just behind the front left tire, so she removed the tote bag and assumed that was what she had run over, police said.

The driver didn’t see Dickson’s body, which police said could only be seen from the front of the vehicle, and so she went into her house.

“This is a very unusual and very sad case,” said Yolanda Fernandez of the St. Petersburg Police Department.

“She felt the bump and when she looked, it was a large tote bag full of things, full of clothing, and other items.  She just figured that’s what she hit.”

On Wednesday morning, a passerby noticed Dickson’s hand sticking out from beneath the front of the car and called police to report that a person was sleeping under a vehicle, police said.

Officers who responded found Dickson’s lifeless body. She was pronounced dead at 8:12 a.m.

“That’s horrible,” said Michael Evans, the victim’s neighbor.

The driver’s neighbors said there’s no way she’d do this on purpose.

“She seems like a nice person,” said Herbert Rivera. “I mean, if she realized she would have hit something, she would have said something.”

The driver did not come to the door to comment.

As for Evans, he recalled some of the good times.

“I thought she was funny,” he said.  “I’d get a real kick out of her.”

He’s now trying to comprehend how this could happen.

Police said they suspect Dickson may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

The driver has no criminal history and at this time, police say she will not face any charges in connection with this incident.


It Was the Running of the Bull in Florida July 9, 2014

Filed under: Alcohol,Bizzarre,Funny,Interesting,OK Then .....,Sad Story,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:25 pm

Red-Bull-car-by-Paul-Gilham-Getty-Images-300x200Thousands of gallons of Red Bull spilled onto Interstate 95 in central Florida after two tractor-trailers collided.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the crash happened Monday evening near Rockledge.

Troopers say the truck hauling more than 30,000 pounds of Red Bull was heading north when the driver tried to move over to the center lane because another truck was disabled on the shoulder of the road. When the driver swerved back into the outside lane, his truck sideswiped the parked vehicle. The trailer on the first truck ripped open and the energy drink spilled onto the road.

The driver of the truck was ticketed for failure to maintain a single lane. No injuries were reported.



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