The Bizarre World of Florida

Florida Gator’s Walker charged with stealing a taco. March 31, 2012

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Controversy,Really Dumb,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:11 pm

Florida guard Erving Walker has been charged with stealing a taco and running from police.

Walker, a senior who ranks first in school history in assists, was arrested and given a notice to appear in court early Friday. He was charged with petty theft and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors. He was not taken to jail.

Gainesville Police say Walker ordered a $3 taco from a street vendor, got the food and ran away without paying. When a police officer caught up with him and told him stop, Walker kept going, according to the police report.

When officers finally caught Walker with help from “several marked patrol cars,” he told them he was “just playing around,” the report said.

Walker is scheduled to appear in court April 19.


‘I don’t care who you are’: 71-year-old woman charged with shooting at deputies

A 71-year-old woman stood at her bedroom doorway pointing a .45 caliber handgun and warned the visitors in her home that she would shoot.

Patricia Mapes stood her ground. It didn’t matter that the visitors were Lee County deputies, according to arrest reports.

“I don’t care who you are. I’ll shoot you,” Mapes told deputies last Friday night (March 23) after they entered her home, called out for the woman and identified themselves.

Mapes fired at the three deputies and they fired back. During the exchange, Mapes was struck and fell to the ground, according to the arrest report. She was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with undisclosed injuries.

On Thursday, at the hospital, Mapes was arrested and is facing charges of two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

The deputies had responded to Mapes’ home in Lee County after her daughter called authorities, concerned her mother was suicidal, according to reports. Mapes had received bad news earlier in the day and said she “couldn’t take it anymore.”

Deputies say they knocked several times on Mapes’ front door and received no response.  The front door was unlocked and Mapes’ car was in the garage, according to reports.

When Mapes confronted them with a gun the deputies started backing off. And after she started shooting the deputies said they “thought they were going to die,” according to the arrest report

Sheriff Mike Scott said last week the deputies were at Mapes’ home for “a little more than a welfare check.” The sheriff also defended the deputies for shooting the elderly woman.

“When someone is shooting at us, we don’t ask them how old they are,” Scott said.

The deputies, whose names have not been released, are on paid administrative leave until the investigation is turned over state, agency spokesman Tony Schall said. Mapes was released on bond on Friday.


Cops were able to spot the burglary suspect by what he wore: A black T-shirt with “FBI” printed on the back

Filed under: Bizzarre,Florida Nut,Really Dumb,Robbers,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:03 pm

Sarasota Police say they were able to recognize a burglary and prowling suspect by what he wore: a black T-shirt with “FBI” printed on the back.

Officers confronted Dominic Salvatori, 22, outside a Tamiami Trail motel on Sunday afternoon. They say he jumped a fence but failed to get away.

Salvatori was about a half-mile from where a resident claimed he confronted a suspicious person on his property.

Police say the resident provided them with a description that included the “FBI” T-shirt.

Officers say they also soon linked Salvatori to a burglary that had just occurred and found some of the stolen items in his possession.

Salvatori faces multiple charges, including burglary and prowling. The arrest is his fourth on a burglary charge, police say.


Man pointed laser at planes as a “stress reliever”. He most certainly raised the stress level of pilots.

Filed under: Bizzarre,Dangerous Nut,Florida Nut,Really Dumb,Scary,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:00 pm

AirTran Flight 15 departed Orlando International Airport Jan. 8 and was heading south about 400 feet off the ground when Capt. Jerry Egel was hit in the face by a bright green laser.

The laser tracked him for 30 to 60 seconds until he reached an altitude of about 2,000 feet, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Egel turned all the plane’s lights off and made a sharp left turn, requesting permission to change course to avoid the laser.

It was an incident that placed his life, and the lives of his passengers, at risk and launched an investigation that resulted in 49-year-old Glenn Stephen Hansen of St. Cloud being accused of aiming lasers at passenger aircraft departing from OIA at least 23 times from that day until Friday.

After that first incident, the investigation focused on the area directly south of the airport, according to the affidavit prepared by Federal Air Marshal Cheyenne C. Sykes.

The investigation led to Hansen, who had made more than 500 complaints about noise from OIA and at one noise abatement meeting said he had used a golf range finder to determine the height of planes.

On Friday, AirTran Flight 15 was again hit by a laser. This time it was Capt. Douglas John Wysocki piloting the plane en route to San Juan when the laser entered the cockpit at about 3,500 feet.

And this time authorities were staking out Hansen’s home in the 4900 block of Parkview Drive and watched as the laser came from a rear upstairs window and aimed at the aircraft taking off overhead, according to the affidavit, which was used to obtain a search warrant.

That search warrant was served about 4 a.m. Saturday by an FBI agent.

According to the federal complaint filed against Hansen, he admitted to pointing the laser at airplanes as “stress release,” and he told agents he suffered from “noise anxiety.”

He told officers he had no idea the laser affected pilots and placed passengers at risk and that it did not know that it was wrong to point the laser at the planes.

The laser was found in a drawer in the master bedroom of the home.

Arrests for pointing lasers at aircraft usually involve helicopters, because they are able to hover over the area until ground units arrive, said Patrick Murphy, who operates the website LaserPointerSafety.com.

The 23 counts against Hansen are the most charges he has seen filed, Murphy said. They account for 3.4 percent of all laser complaints in the United States this year and all but one complaint this year involving aircraft at OIA.


Hooray! The Easter bunny will now be safe in Florida!

A 35-year-old Winter Haven man accepted a plea deal this morning for killing three bunnies with his hands during an argument with his wife.

Reginald Owen Sear Jr. is expected to receive about two years in prison and five years of probation under the terms of his agreement with prosecutors.

Circuit Judge Ellen S. Masters set a sentencing hearing for April 11.

Sear was arrested last year after police responded to a disturbance call at his home.

Sear killed the animals during a May 24 argument with his wife about who would wake up to feed the bunnies, reports state.

Sear took the bunnies into the bathroom and twisted them with his hands.

The couple’s children didn’t see the bunnies die, but one child told police that Sear returned from the bathroom with blood on his face.

This morning, he pleaded guilty to three counts of cruelty to an animal, two counts of child abuse and one count of domestic battery.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Levine said plea negotiations went forward with Sear in part to protect the children from having to testify.

Under the conditions of his probation, Sear cannot own or take care of any animals.

He must complete an anger management class as well as undergo a mental heath evaluation and follow any recommended treatment.


Bunny-based crackdown: West Palm Beach police use bunny costume to enforce seat-belt law March 30, 2012

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Scary,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:10 pm

A man and a bunny were walking down the center median of Okeechobee Boulevard  Wednesday morning when the bunny began flashing a sign at passing motorists:  “Have a safe, hoppy holiday. Buckle up!”

Amused drivers smiled and waved at the duo. (One motorist even tried to give  the man a $20, thinking he was homeless.)

But this was no joke. Both were West Palm Beach police officers out to  enforce the state-sponsored “Click it or Ticket” campaign; signalling other  officers stationed off Tamarind Avenue when motorists were not wearing their  seat belts.

Wearing a seat belt “should be an involuntary response when you get in a  vehicle,” said Sgt. Matthew Bessette of the department’s traffic division.  Beginning around 8 a.m., officers cited 50 motorists in the first two hours  alone.

Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/region_c_palm_beach_county/west_palm_beach/bunny-based-crackdown-west-palm-beach-police-use-bunny-costume-to-enforce-seat-belt-law#ixzz1qbaY8SqJ


Man busted operating meth lab in a camper

Live Oak Police say they arrested a man for making meth within Live Oak city limits. Andrew James Britt, who also lives in Live Oak, was arrested when police discovered he was making meth  in a camper in a stranger’s yard.

Police responded to a home in Live Oak when the residents called to report suspicious activity in their yard. When they got to the house, the caller told them someone had been living in a camper in their yard without their permission.

Inside the camper, police found Britt sleeping next to paraphrenalia that they say indicated that he was operating a  methamphetamine manufacturing laboratory – right there in the camper. They arrested Britt and charged him with possession of methamphetamine and manufacturing methamphetamine.



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