The Bizarre World of Florida

Thief thwarted by next-door self-defense studio May 12, 2015

A Wesley Chapel man is accused of trying to steal $15,000 worth of bikes from a local store.

Unfortunately for the alleged thief, he didn’t notice the self-defense studio located next door.

david-menzies-0508“Who would rob a store that has Hammerfist next door and they’re there?” said Bruce McCarthy, co-owner of Kona Swim Bike Run.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff Office, the person who would rob that store is 30-year-old David Menzies.

Investigators said Menzies broke into the bike store Thursday evening. At the time, people were training next door at Hammerfist Krav Maga, a self-defense and jiu-jitsu studio.

“Immediately me and a couple of other guys, we went outside and we did notice the glass and there was some noise going on,” said Jason Carrio, co-owner of Hammerfist Krav Maga.

During those few minutes, deputies say Menzies was next door grabbing clothes and expensive bikes. That’s not all; investigators say he even took a Jeep for a test ride and parked it out back to load up.

When he was out back, Carrio and other instructors ran around to stop him.

“We started yelling to him, you know, ‘Hey, is that your stuff? Are those your bikes? What are you doing?’ ” said Carrio.

Carrio says Menzies kept loading the bikes even after the confrontation. Carrio says he told Menzies he called police. Menzies then said he’d wait in the car.

“I knew as soon as he got into that car he was going to try and take off and the car was running,” Carrio said.

So the self-defense instructor took matters into his own hands and took the suspect out of the car and held onto him with jiu-jitsu moves.

“I just reacted, to be quite honest with you,” he said. “I just reacted. I just felt like this is the right thing to do.”

McCarthy says he recognized Menzies because he checked out the store Wednesday and acted like a customer.

In the end, it was perhaps a big lesson learned for the suspect.

“Clearly he didn’t read or he doesn’t know what Krav Maga and jiu-jitsu is but definitely a bad environment to come and try to break the law,” said Carrio.

Investigators say Menzies admitted to trying to steal the bikes and the Jeep.


Here’s a guy who made a lasting impression on a judge May 8, 2015

Filed under: Bad Luck,Crime,Florida,Funny — floridaduh @ 7:11 pm
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Orlando man is facing double the trouble after he was connected to a second Central Florida robbery while attending a pre-trial conference on the first charge, according to police and court records.

554a89bbba217.imageLige William Taylor, 33, was served with an arrest warrant Tuesday on charges of robbery with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon in the Jan. 15 holdup at an Advance Auto Parts store in Clermont, police said Wednesday.

According to police, Taylor pointed a silver revolver at one of the clerks and demanded money. He got away with $400 in cash and about $45 worth of merchandise.

He was in court dealing with earlier charges including robbery with a firearm and aggravated assault with a firearm on the same day at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in Ocoee, police said. Police said the State Road 50 businesses, which are about 14 miles apart, were robbed within a 30-minute span.

“We’re glad he’s behind bars,” Clermont police Sgt. Shane Strickland said. “I’m sure he is being looked at by other jurisdictions after being connected to these two robberies.”

Taylor had bonded out of the Orange County Jail in February, court records show.

Taylor was sentenced to 10 years in prision for armed robbery back in 2000, police said. He is being held in the Orange County Jail.


Woman jailed on drug charges after asking deputy about ID theft May 4, 2015

brianna-lashae-jonesA Fort Walton Beach woman is facing drug charges after allegedly calling deputies to inquire about “identity theft.”

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the call on April 19 around 1 a.m., according to the arrest report. The woman, identified as 19-year-old Brianna Lashae Jones, pulled up next to deputies in her car.

While speaking to Jones, deputies noticed the smell of marijuana coming from her car and detained her, the report said. In plain view, they allegedly saw a while pill identified as alprazolam.

Jones admitted that two people who had just gotten out of her vehicle had smoked marijuana and that she didn’t have a prescription for alprazolam, according to the report.

She is charged with possession of a controlled substance.


Dumbass teen bitten on the lip by a water moccasin that he kept in a pillow cover April 22, 2015

2898744_GA Wimauma teen is hospitalized at Tampa General Hospital after he was bit on the face by a cottonmouth snake on Saturday night. Cottonmouth snakes are also known as water moccasins.

Investigators say Austin Hatfield, 18, had captured the snake several days earlier, put it in a pillowcase and kept the pillowcase on his bed.

At some point on Saturday night, the snake escaped and the teen grabbed it close to his chest. The snake then bit him in the face, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Spokesperson Gary Morse.

Emergency crews responded to the home at about 11:45 p.m. and transported Hatfield to TGH where the teen is in good condition.

The snake was euthanized and was brought to TGH for identification.

FWC is investigating because of the injury and it is against the law to possess a venomous snake without a permit.

No charges have been filed.


Dollar store robber held knife to clerk, but left prints behind April 17, 2015

A robber who made off with $4,000 from a Family Dollar store unwittingly left behind fingerprints and the kitchen knife he wielded during the Feb. 22 holdup, investigators say.


Using that evidence, police arrested Jefte Jacques, 31, four days later. He was being held without bond at the Joseph V. Conte jail in Pompano Beach.

Investigators now want to take a DNA swab from Jacques to compare to DNA found on the knife and on a cash register tray, according to a search warrant.

A clerk at the Family Dollar at 1801 N. Federal Highway told police it was about 8:48 a.m. when the suspected robber entered the store, followed her and placed the blade of a knife against her back.

“Open the safe or I’m going to kill you,” she said he demanded. “You think I’m playing, b—- I’ll kill you.”

When the clerk opened the cash register, the robber, who wore a dark hoodie pulled over his head, put the knife on the ground, reached into the register, removed the cash tray and emptied it into a small plastic bag, the warrant said.

When the clerk next opened the safe, the robber took the money and put it into a large Family Dollar shopping bag and split.

Detectives lifted Jacques’ fingerprints from the cash tray and collected the knife as evidence, the warrant said.

A store manager advised that Jacques had never worked there and there was no reason for his prints to be on the register.

“The lack of a legitimate reason for the presence of Jefte Jacques’ latent prints on the change tray established probable cause for his arrest,” the March 30 warrant said. “The collection of defendant Jefte Jacques’ DNA would be compared to the kitchen knife and DNA collected from the crime scene.”


Note that the word idiot starts with ID April 12, 2015

After about an hour-long search, a man was arrested Saturday morning after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash along State Road 417 and ran away from the scene. He was tracked down after he left his wallet in the car he abandoned, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

1428201165859Russell Lamar Roberts, 25, was charged with driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of a crash.

Accord to troopers, a driver, later identified Roberts, was driving southbound on northbound State Road 417 in the area of Trevarthon Road, in Orange County.

Just before 9 a.m., Roberts’ black Chevrolet crashed into a white Mazda.

Roberts exited his vehicle and ran from the scene, troopers said. Witnesses in the area attempted to stop Roberts, but he reportedly jumped over a fence and proceeded to run away from the crash scene.

As troopers investigated the crash, they noticed Roberts’ wallet was left inside the vehicle. Roberts’ driver’s license was inside the wallet, a report states.

The man was later located in Orlando by an Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy “on the floor and lying in his own blood,” a report states.

Roberts was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center for his injuries, where he was questioned by troopers.

According to the report, Roberts couldn’t recall the accident but stated “he might have fallen asleep behind the wheel.”

Roberts said he couldn’t recall why or how he was involved in the crash or why he left the scene.

Roberts was medically released and then taken to the Orange County Jail.

Sgt. Kim Montes, of the Florida Highway Patrol, said the arresting trooper asked for Roberts to me medically re-evaluated.

“The trooper does not suspect drugs or alcohol and does not know why the driver was traveling in the wrong direction,” Montes said.


SWAT team responds to home invasion call, find pot-growing operation April 11, 2015

Three men are in custody after a home invasion at a Hialeah home that also ended up having more than 50 pounds of pot inside.

Hialeah Police said around 7 a.m. on Thursday, Lazaro Espinosa, the owner of the home, located at 1750 West 62nd Street, went outside to feed his birds.

That’s when Jorge Valdes, 30, and Fernando Fernandez, 27, wearing masks and bulletproof vests, went up to him and identified themselves as police, authorities said.

Officers said the two men forced Espinosa back into his home where they held him and his wife at gunpoint.

Police said the men then started beating up Espinosa while demanding money.  They then went to his wife and asked her if anyone else was in the home. She said no.

Meantime, their 16-year old daughter was calling police.

“From a frantic 16-year old girl, locked in the bathroom of her home, telling us that there are armed men inside her house, robbing her parents at gunpoint,” said Hialeah Police Det. Carl Zogby.

Hialeah Police released the 911 call in which you hear the daughter frantically begging for help to come.

“There’s two robbers in my house. They have guns. Please, please, please come,” said the daughter.

At one point during the call, you hear yelling in the background and her voice drops.  The operator then tells her to hide herself and put herself in the bathroom.

“Please come fast. They’re going to kill my parents. Please,” she plead over the phone, sounding as though she is crying. Meantime the operator tries to keep her on the line and calm her down.

“Are they here? Please tell me they’re here,” said the daughter while crying. “They’re going to kill my parents.”

Shortly after, you hear the girl saying “mami” and you hear the mother say, “That’s it my love,” as the girl cried and yelled, “where is my father” repeatedly.

A SWAT team, that happened to be in the area, had responded to the scene. They were able to catch up with the two men who were trying to get away, throwing away bullet proof vests, badges and holsters, among other things along the way.

One neighbor, Mayda Martinez, said she saw them tossing wads of cash.

“He dropped the money in front of my apartment so all the money is over there on the floor,” said Martinez.

Police later learned their motive. Inside the home, officers found more than 50 pounds of pot  and growing materials.

“They targeted this home because the father actually had an illegal narcotics operation in the house and they felt that there would be cash and things of value,” said Zogby.


Fernandez and Valdez are facing robbery, battery and police impersonation charges.

During the investigation, officers also found out that Valdes is Espinosa’s current son in law.

Espinosa was also taken away by police and has been charged with Cannabis Trafficking. His wife and daughter are not facing charges at this time.

Florida Power and Light was also called to the home to disable a rigged set up where huge amounts of power was being stolen to power the operation.



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