The Bizarre World of Florida

“We believe that this road sign reading ‘WARNING: ZOMBIES AHEAD’ is a joke. But we haven’t been brave enough to drive beyond the sign” April 23, 2014

Filed under: Bizzarre,Dumb,Funny,Interesting,Really Dumb,Silly,Stupid,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:11 pm

soflanews-zombies-attach-fort-lauder-20140422Commuters driving south on A1A in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday morning were treated to an amusing warning: a different kind of traffic hazard awaited down the road in the form of shambling undead with a hunger for brains.

Presumably, they kept their windows closed.

The electronic message sign just north of Sunrise Boulevard typically updates drivers on when the Las Olas Bridge would be closed for repair work. But some hoaxster apparently busted into the sign’s control box and altered its message. City and state transportation officials were mystified, but quickly set things right.

And there were no reports of the walking dead.


Woman, 64, foils flashing purse snatcher

sfl-flduh-pursesnatching-flasher-20140422-001An unemployed Tamarac man with a history of criminal offenses found the pickings weren’t so easy Sunday afternoon when he tried to steal the purse of a 64-year-old woman.

So, frustrated, he exposed himself and resorted to obscenity.

According to police, Michael Gallo, 25, grabbed the unidentified woman’s purse as she got out of her car in the 5400 block of West Atlantic Boulevard in Margate.

The woman refused to let go. She even punched Gallo.

Gallo then vented his anger at being thwarted by loosening a sweatshirt he had around his waist to expose his genitals. He followed that by holding up two middle fingers and uttering an obscenity to the woman before fleeing eastward.

Margate police caught Gallo about three blocks from the scene. The woman identified him as her assailant. He was charged with attempted robbery by sudden snatching and lewd and lascivious exhibition.

In a separate arrest warrant, Gallo was charged with soliciting in public.

During a first-appearance court hearing Monday, County Judge John “Jay” Hurley set bond for Gallo — a Colombian native who said he hasn’t worked in “four or five years” — at $15,200.

According to court officers, Gallo has a record of past arrests that includes grand theft, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, loitering and prowling and trespassing.

Hurley told Gallo that if he posts bond and is released from jail, he has to stay at least 500 feet away from the alleged victim in the case.

“You have violence, you have stealing in the past, loitering and prowling, criminal mischief — so you do have a history of these type of things,” Hurley said.


If you live in Florida, be on the look out for this rabid raccoon dressed like a skunk April 22, 2014

Filed under: Amazing,Scary,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:15 pm

Skunk-Rabies-Alert-jpgHealth officials in Pasco County are expanding the boundaries for a previously issued rabies alert.

The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County says this is in response to a raccoon found outside of the previous boundaries testing positive for rabies. A statement says all residents should be aware of the alert and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated.

County Health Officer Mike Napier said in the statement that residents should get their pets vaccinated and “educate your children to stay away from any raccoons or animals they are not familiar with.”

The rabies alert is for 60 days. It was announced on Friday.

BTW: This is the picture that was printed along with this story!


So you’re out fishing and catch an 800-pound shark that’s too big for your pickup truck. What do you do?

Filed under: Amazing,Funny,Interesting,OK Then .....,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:11 pm

Florida anglers who had hoped to avoid publicity after catching a giant mako shark from the beach last week might have succeeded had they not stopped for gas on the way home–with the enormous predator spilling from the bed of their pickup truck.


News spread not long after West Calhoun, a passerby, sent a photo of the shark to the Pensacola News-Journal. The News Journal posted the image on its Facebook page, with no details, and the peculiar image was so widely shared and discussed that the newspaper tracked down one of the anglers and, a day later, reported that the catch could set a world record for shore-based fishing.

Cousins Earnie and Joey Polk hooked the shortfin mako in the dark morning hours, on a Gulf Coast beach near Navarre. The apex predator, reeled in with heavy tackle after an hour-long struggle, weighed 805 pounds and measured 11 feet.

“That’s probably the best fish we ever caught,” Earnie Polk said. “You’ll spend many, many hours to catch a fish of that caliber, or a fish of that size.”

The International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association, which encourages catch and release and accepts tape measurements with estimated weights, recognizes a 674-pound mako caught by Earnie Polk in 2009 as the current record. Earnie and Joey also teamed to make that catch.

For the sake of comparison, the largest mako caught on rod and reel from a boat weighed 1,221 pounds, according to the International Game Fish Association. That catch was in 2001 off Massachusetts.

Presumably, the Polks hoped to keep news of their latest catch quiet because the shark-conservation movement has become so vocal in recent years. Sharks are slow to reproduce and vulnerable to overfishing, and many species are believed to be in steep decline.

The image was shared nearly 3,000 times, and while many of the comments were critical of the Polks, some were in support of the anglers. Fishing for mako sharks off Florida, after all, is not illegal.

The Polks explained that they kept the shark because it had become so weary during the fight, and they did not think it could swim back to sea.

So they trucked the predator home and planned a family feast.

“It’s about $10 per pound at the fish market,” Earnie Polk said. “It sells right along with tuna and swordfish. Between all of us, there won’t be a bit of it wasted.”


Vietnam veteran David W. ‘Pervert Dave’ Cummings led colorful, tragic life

Filed under: Amazing,Death,Interesting,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:03 pm

cummings_12992614_8colPerhaps the strangest thing about David W. “Pervert Dave” Cummings’ story is that no one knows how he got the nickname. It’s not clear he even knew himself — though the name never bothered him.

When loved ones took out an obituary last week in the Tampa Bay Times, they made sure to include the nickname. Soon, the obit of “Pervert Dave” was making its way through social media, yet another item in an endless stream of Florida weirdness.

“Oh no! Pervert Dave died!” a typical blog headline lamented (in this instance, from Cincinnati’s WLW-AM 700 radio).

The man behind the nickname lived a colorful, if dark and sometimes tragic life. Trained as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force, he claimed to have been aboard three planes that were shot down in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1970 for a character disorder, the details of which are not known. He suffered from post-traumatic stress.

Over a 13-month period in the late 1980s, Mr. Cummings killed two people. One was a guy known as Wheelchair Skip, an amputee roommate in Inglis he shot six times during an argument over money. He was also charged with driving under the influence manslaughter when a woman who was riding with him died after Mr. Cummings slammed into a tree.

He claimed self-defense in the shooting death of Furman W. Toney III, the amputee who had his own violent history. (Six months earlier, Toney had fired a sawed-off shotgun at an imaginary intruder, instead hitting a 5-year-old girl in the face; she was not seriously injured.)

Charged with second-degree murder in Toney’s death, Mr. Cummings languished in jail for about two years until a judge withheld adjudication.

He then pleaded no-contest to DUI manslaughter in the death of Dale Marie Williams, 31, and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Though he never had children, he married at least three times, including a short-lived marriage to a 17-year-old when he was 32. (While this seems to be a potential source for Pervert, friends say he was given the name much earlier in life.)

In recent years he retreated to an isolated home in the woods near Crystal River, where he carved wood, let his long beard turn gray and lived as serene a life as one might hope for — at least with a nickname like Pervert Dave.

Mr. Cummings, who found peace after a rocky early adulthood, died April 13 of liver cancer, according to longtime friend Karen Baker. He was 64.

“He was very remorseful over both (deaths),” said Baker, 56, also of Crystal River. She has good-naturedly handled the hordes of media inquiries following the obituary she placed.

As for the nickname everybody wants to know about, Baker said, “It’s just something he came back with from Vietnam. It was just a nickname given to him.”

David Walter Cummings was born in 1949 in Rochester, N.Y. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1968 and was later promoted to Airman First Class.

He contracted hepatitis C during a blood transfusion after one of his planes was shot down, according to Baker.

Once a civilian, he refused to set foot on a plane again, she said.

Mr. Cummings came to the Tampa Bay area in the 1970s. He worked at a Clearwater car dealership for many years.

“He could sit there and tell jokes and have everybody laughing,” Baker said. “But if it got personal, he would try to listen and help the other person.”

The lowest point in his life — causing the back-to-back deaths — led to a new beginning. On Dec. 31, 1991, Mr. Cummings married Debra Ann “Morgan” McGee, a member of several civic organizations who introduced her husband to appraising property and breeding Paso Fino horses.

Morgan Cummings died at 52 in 2004 (of cancer, Baker said). Mr. Cummings spent his time in a little house 5 miles from Crystal River.

He took leisurely motorcycle trips with buddies on a Harley-Davidson Road King once used by police.

He was adept at engraving images into wood, including a skeleton riding a motorcycle.


Suspected bike thief found snoozing in Walmart

Filed under: Robbers,Fraud,Drugs,Florida Nut,Really Dumb,WTF?,Controversy,Unusual,Dumb,Stupid — floridaduh @ 6:58 pm

An Englewood man accused of stealing a bicycle was later found by Walmart employees taking a nap in a bean bag chair, according to deputies.

sfl-flduh-bike-thief-snoozing-20140421-00119-year-old Roy Hornjak has been arrested and charged with Burglary of a Dwelling, Burglary of a Structure, Burglary of a Conveyance, Grand Theft, and Violation of Probation.

According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, an Englewood resident reported on Sunday that a bicycle valued at over $300 was stolen from their garage and the suspect had also apparently entered their vehicle to light a marijuana cigarette, based on an odor in the car.

A family member later located the missing bicycle in the bike rack outside the McCall Road Walmart.

After viewing the video, Wal-Mart personnel located Hornjak asleep on bean bag chairs inside the store. He was asked to leave the store. Instead of leaving, Hornjak went to the Subway located inside Wal-Mart and fell asleep at a table.

When deputies were talking to him at Wal-Mart, Hornjak was found to be in possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

He is being held without bond at the Charlotte County Jail.


Florida neighbors upset about new park because ….people might actually use it April 21, 2014

Filed under: Controversy,Interesting,Sad Story,Stupid,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:55 pm

After two years and some controversy, a new park was unveiled Sunday in Cape Coral — but not everyone is excited.

3526184_GCape Coral Christian Fellowship Church officially opened its new five-acre, state-of-the art park. From swings to jungle gyms, children of all ages took turns trying out the new toys.

“It’s a gift from our family to the families of the city. It’s open just like any city park, so we just want to encourage people to come out and take advantage of it — enjoy it,” said Chad Woolf, pastor.

But not everyone shares the joy.

“My big concern is losing quality of life, because the park is going to be rented out on occasions — so that means you’re going to have bands, you’re going to have noise and you’re going to have a lot of traffic,” said neighbor Bill Tirelli.

During its planning, the project faced some opposition from neighbors. Especially when the church announced it wanted to add an amphitheater.

That request was turned down by city leaders after neighbors protested saying it would cause too much noise. But kids say they’re still excited the park is finally here.

“I think it’s phenomenal. My family and I have been waiting a long time so that we could go and enjoy the park,” said Georgia Wadall.

The church says they still have some work to do before the park is complete. Neighbors tell us they’re waiting to see how the park affects their lifestyle.


Easter services at SeaWorld feature scripture about Jesus Christ, Shamu, and Tim Tebow

Filed under: Beautiful,Bizzarre,Unusual,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:51 pm

On any other Sunday, the Niebrugge family would be in the pews for the morning service at Metro Church in Winter Springs.

seaworldtebows1-jpg-20140420But this being Easter Sunday, they got up at 4 a.m. and drove through the darkness and the drizzle to find their seats, along with 7,000 others, in SeaWorld Orlando’s Bayside Stadium. They had been here before, as season pass holders, but never to participate in the ritual of witnessing the sun rise in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection.

It was misty so Tammy Niebrugge, her 12-year-old daughter Hope, and six-year-old son Bryce wore plastic rain ponchos with Mickey Mouse on the back — which on any other day would be blasphemy inside SeaWorld.

“We should be nice to each other, especially today,” said Ken Niebrugge, the father.

His other son, 8-year-old Brendan, was wearing the No. 15 jersey of Tim Tebow with the secret hope that the legendary Florida Gator quarterback might make a surprise appearance with his parents, Bob and Pam Tebow, as the scheduled speakers for the service.

This was unlikely, his parents cautioned him, but just in case Ken carried a Tim Tebow football card inside a plastic baggie in the right front pocket of his shirt.

So on this Easter Sunday, in an amusement park stadium celebrating a Christian holiday with the parents of a celebrity athlete, the holy trinity of American culture came together: religion, sports and entertainment.

Jesus, Tebow and Shamu.

In her message to the Easter Sunday worshippers, Pam Tebow recounted the miraculous birth of her son against all medical odds: “As Timmy entered the world, the doctor said, ‘This is a miracle baby.’ “

She spoke of the lesson of love, courage and humility contained in the story of Christ’s death and resurrection: “You have to love the people in your life just as God loves us, just as Christ loves us and gave his life.”

Bob Tebow preached on how God sacrificed Christ by pinning all the sins of the world onto his only son: “God took every sin that you and I have ever done or will ever do and he nailed them to the cross.”

After his remarks, Timmy’s father said they would be handing out comic book gospel tracts written for kids — “so if there are any Florida State fans here you can read it, too.”

SeaWorld has held free Easter sunrise services for 37 years. This year’s event year was hosted by Christian radio station Z88.3 FM.

For Tammy Niebrugge, the sunrise service was perfect for her family because the kids are getting old enough now to know Easter is about more than hunting for eggs. This Easter, the family incorporated “Resurrection Eggs” into the holiday, each plastic egg containing a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion: a cross, a nail, a thorn, and a Scripture verse to go along with them.

“For my family, I think it’s just great that it’s the first Easter Sunday that they are all old enough to really understand the true meaning of Easter,” said Tammy, 40, a preschool teacher.

For Ken Niebrugge, a 48-year-old chiropractor, the Easter story reinforced the idea for his children of God as a father: “We want them to know there is a heavenly father who loves them and they can talk to him at any time and he can do things for them that mom and dad can’t.”

For Hope, the message of the day was spelled out in her name. For Brendan, it was a little disappointing that Tim Tebow never materialized. For Bryce, there was light instead of darkness when he awoke after falling asleep on his father’s lap.

Before returning to Longwood, Ken Niebrugge said the family was going to linger a little at SeaWorld with their renewed sense of what it means to be Christian. And to visit Shamu.


Pasta la vista, baby: Woman charged in pasta assault

A woman described as a “crazy” acting “crackhead” got locked up after accusations she hurled pasta at a man, punched him in the mouth and busted a coffee cup, according to a recently released affidavit.

sfl-flduh-pasta-hurling-woman-20140418-001What could be called the case of the linguine launching lady began boiling late on April 5 as Port St. Lucie police went to an address in the 2400 block of Southeast Garden Terrace.

A man identified as the victim said he was expecting Jeri Rossello, 45, to drop by and get some of her stuff. She came in and walked to the kitchen. Rossello, he said, grabbed a pasta meal from the refrigerator and threw it at him.

Pasta is a general term for a variety of thin, dough-based foodstuffs of Italian origin sometimes served with meatballs. Available in a cornucopia of shapes and dimensions, pasta typically is rigid until boiled. It’s often served with a sauce, such as marinara, pesto, bolognese, alfredo or Fra Diavolo, with types of pasta including angel hair, linguine and elbow macaroni.

pasta2-thumb-500x366-15400Meanwhile, the victim said, Rossello smashed a coffee mug and pulled phone wires from the wall. He said she punched him in the mouth and took off in a U-Haul van.

He described Rossello as a “crack head” who acted “crazy,” telling police she may have gone to a different address where she’s staying with another dude.

Investigators eventually found Rossello, who said she tried some leftover linguine but put it back in the refrigerator. She said there was no physical or verbal altercation.

Asked about the victim’s injured lip, Rossello said he must have done that to himself.

Rossello, of the 1500 block of Southeast Balcourt Court in Port St. Lucie, was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge.


Flip flop: Shopper finds her own stolen shoes on sale April 18, 2014

Filed under: Bizzarre,Dumb,Florida Nut,Fraud,Really Dumb,Robbers,Stupid,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:15 pm

sfl-flduh-stolen-shoes-sale-20140417-001An Ocala shopper got a surprise last month when she saw some of her own shoes – and some shoes belonging to her fiancé — on sale at a local store.

Her find led to the arrest Wednesday of Aric Shiawn McCray, 23, who had been living with them, on 11 counts of dealing in stolen property, according to the Ocala Police Department

Unfortunately, Plato’s Closet, at 2701 SW College Road, had already sold some of the shoes.

OPD Detective Mark Hoover found that McCray had made 23 transactions with the store since Dec. 2. Eleven of those involved items belonging to the woman or her fiancé. Those transactions totaled $302.65.

Hoover spoke with McCray, who told him that the couple had given him permission to take the shoes, according to OPD. He was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail.



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