The Bizarre World of Florida

Duo arrested in burglaries after being caught in act by homeowner March 30, 2015

Volusia County deputies have arrested a duo they say teamed up to burglarize DeLand homes before they were caught in the act by a homeowner on Thursday afternoon.

Tobias-Cobb--Kimberly-Jarrell-jpgTobias Cobb, 35, and Kimberly Jarrell, 38, were arrested after deputies say Jarrell would knock on doors to check if potential burglary victims were home and if no one was home, Cobb would burglarize the house.

Deputies said Margaret Gulla, a former weightlifter, came home to her house on Princeton Road to find Cobb in a bedroom of her house.

“You are in my mother and dad’s house and it ain’t happening,” said Gulla.

When Gulla tried to call for help, Cobb smacked her phone out of her hand and punched her in the face, according to the report.

“He hit me, so I socked him in his eye and he was trying to get away and I had him by his shirt and I wouldn’t let go. I tried to drag him to get to the phone,” said Gulla.

A neighbor chased Cobb to a plaza on South Woodland Boulevard and flagged down a deputy.

Deputies said Cobb surrendered after a deputy tracked him to a closet and said “You can come out of the closet or you can be bit by my dog.”

Deputies found a hammer, rubber gloves and the victim’s family’s jewelry in his backpack, according to a release.

Cobb was charged with burglary with assault/battery, burglary of an occupied structure, grand theft, depriving the use of 911, resisting an officer without violence, possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief.

Jarrell was arrested on a principal to burglary charge after the neighbor spotted her walking with Cobb just before the burglary.

They were both booked into Volusia County jail.

“Just don’t come back to my house again, because the next time you’ll get shot,” said Gulla.


Deadbeat dad’s backyard meth cookout is a bust March 26, 2015

On March 21, deputies responded to the home of William Mitchell Golden, 46, of 1892 Flowerview Blvd., Laurel Hill, for an active warrant for failure to pay child support.

william-mitchell-golden-and-gregory-parmerDeputies located Golden and Gregory Parmer, 51, of 6370 County Highway 147 Laurel Hill, in a shed on the property.

Golden was wearing a mask over his nose and mouth, along with safety goggles. Deputies immediately smelled a strong chemical odor in the shed, and saw paraphernalia associated with the use of methamphetamine in plain view.

Investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Unit arrived and performed a consensual search of the property.

Several used “one-Pot” cooking vessels were found, along with a small amount of finished methamphetamine, Adderall, less than 20 grams of marijuana and a trafficking amount of methamphetamine oil.

Golden was arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance without prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia, and trafficking in methamphetamine.

Parmer was charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Both were transported and booked at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Jail.


Teen burglar left himself signed on to Facebook at victim’s home March 20, 2015

A teen wanted for breaking into a Keys home left behind a clue that made it pretty easy for cops to make a bust: He left himself signed on to his Facebook account.

teenThe Plantation Key homeowner told deputies that he left his home unlocked Wednesday on an outing with his wife — and doesn’t even have a house key. When he returned, he found evidence of a break-in: Someone had eaten a Pop Tart, downed a soda, and messed with his iPad and computer.

“He said the computer’s browser history showed many visits to pornography sites and to YouTube while he had been gone from the house,” Monroe sheriff’s spokeswoman Becky Herrin said. “An iPad had been moved, and someone had charged it. The iPad was still logged in to the Facebook page of a 16 year-old-boy.”

Deputy Luis Gomez then went to work. He called the school resource officer at Coral Shores High School in Tavernier to inquire whether the boy was a student there.

The teen was interviewed at the school and admitted to being inside the home and accessing computer equipment, Herrin said.

“He said he left school and walked around the neighborhood and found a house with no cars in the driveway,” she said. “When he found the door unlocked, he went inside.”

The teen was arrested, charged with burglary and theft and booked into the Plantation Key Jail.


Some People are just too stupid to be a criminal … mask fail: DNA on ski hat left during home invasion nails suspect March 19, 2015

stupidAt 7:15 a.m. on Dec. 30, a woman reported that she awakened to find a masked intruder at the end of her bed in her home in the 1800 block of Bayonne Street, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman screamed as the intruder grabbed her purse. The scream woke up the woman’s niece, who confronted the intruder in the hallway. The man knocked over a Christmas tree and ran out of the home.

While processing the scene, authorities found a black ski hat with two holes cut out, which they believed was used by the burglar as a mask, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The hat was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for DNA testing. On Tuesday, results showed that DNA found on the hat matched that of Kevin Kovalsky, 48, of Nokomis.

Kovalsky is charged with burglary to an occupied dwelling while wearing a mask. He is being held at the Sarasota County jail on $500,000 bail.

Kovalsky is a prolific offender with more than 30 arrests — including grand theft, aggravated battery and multiple drug charges — in Sarasota County.


Hey Stupid …. When deputies cut you a break, take it …. especially if you’re a fugitive

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Tallahassee woman last night, March 16, 2015, after she resisted officers without violence. Deputies ran her information and discovered she was a fugitive from justice and wanted in the state of Georgia.

StoryBay County Sheriff’s Office deputies patrolling Thomas Drive on Panama City Beach observed a 2014 white Chevy Cruze blocking traffic. The driver had stopped in the roadway to speak to people travelling on the shoulder of the road. Deputies instructed her to keep her vehicle moving and the driver moved about a foot and then stopped again to talk. Deputies instructed her to turn into the median and the driver agreed but then sped off towards Joan Avenue.

Deputies followed with lights on and made contact with the driver as she was stopped at a traffic light. A traffic stop was conducted when deputies were able get the driver to pull off the road and then block her in with patrol cars when she again attempted to drive away.

Briana Simone Ward, age 23, from Tallahassee, was arrested for Resisting an Officer without Violence. It was discovered her license was suspended and Ward was wanted on a warrant out of Georgia. While being processed for booking into the Bay County Jail, marijuana was found her person.

Ward was also charged with Driving with License Suspended or Revoked, Fugitive from Justice, and Possession of Marijuana, less than 20 grams. She was taken to the Bay County Jail.


Undercover agents: Dozens lined up for heroin at condos March 15, 2015

Undercover deputies said they took a number of heroin dealers off the streets Friday in a raid at the Blossom Park Condos in Orange County.

a aa aaaUndercover drug agents from the DEA and Sheriff’s Office had several men in custody, some of whom jumped from a third-story window to avoid being arrested, officials said.

Agents said they followed a suspected drug dealer to the condos and found people lined up down three flights of stairs waiting to shoot up with heroin inside.

Agents said they were undetected until a marked car showed up outside for an unrelated incident. At that point, it looked like something out of a movie with dozens of people running away, leaving behind drugs and money, officials said.

Authorities said one suspect even jumped from a third-story balcony.

“I didn’t jump from the third floor. He lied,” the suspect said to Butler.

After the suspects were taken into custody, authorities said they found drugs, used needles, cash and gun inside the condo.

Piles of clothes, some with the tags still on them, were also recovered. Agents said addicts steal the clothes and trade them for heroin.

“Were you selling heroin?” Butler asked another suspect.

“No. Swear to God, I wasn’t selling heroin,” said suspect John Cartagena. “Why would I be selling heroin? I don’t even live here. I live all the way in Bushnell. I was here helping. I came all the way over here to help a cousin move. I only smoke weed.”

Following the arrests, several cars pulled up to the complex and drove off after hearing a heroin bust had just gone down.


Church hosted naked paint parties, lost tax-exempt status

A local church that has been hosting naked paint parties and slumber-party Sundays with the “sexiest ladies on the beach” will now have to pay taxes on the property as officers investigate the church’s practices, authorities said Tuesday.

club-amnesiaThe Life Center: A Spiritual Community, 9721 Thomas Drive, has been up and running its seven-days-a-week party schedule as Amesia: The Tabernacle since Feb. 28. But The Tabernacle, which caters to college students on vacation, has caught the attention of more than just party-seeking spring breakers.

Since ATMs and a banner promoting “iDrink” appeared out front of The Life Center, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and Panama City Beach Police Department investigators have began taking a closer look at the church. Owned by Markus Q. Bishop, former pastor of Faith Christian Family Church, officials said the club has been engaging in activities unbefitting of a church.

Bishop could not be reached Tuesday for a comment on this story.

A sign on the front of The Tabernacle stated the events are alcohol and drug free and donations go back to the church. Promoters said it is a church by day and youth ministry by night.

Sheriff Frank McKeithen said it is a “blatant slap in the face” to taxpayers and law enforcement.

“They’re trying to get around the laws, and they’re using the church to get there,” McKeithen said.

churchSince a Facebook post from BCSO questioned the integrity of the club, highlighting that the club often hosts adult entertainment, Club Amnesia has shut down its website. However, when the website was available, it boasted a Sunday night event called “Slumber,” a pajama and lingerie party hosted by “the sexiest ladies on the beach.” Raves take place weekly along with an “Anything But Clothes” paint party. And Wednesday nights are reserved for an event called “Wet n Wild,” a water-themed event where “white water meets Tabernacle PCB with a little twerkin’,” the website stated.

“I’ve been in a lot of nightclubs and I’ve been in a lot of churches,” said PCBPD Chief Drew Whitman. “That isn’t a church.”

Patrons are charged $20 at the door, which is called a donation. And T-shirts depicting stick figures performing oral sex on one another and the text “I hate being sober” adorn the walls.

Whitman and McKeithen said it is not the nature of the events that has piqued their attention. Several similar events are hosted at clubs just east of Club Amnesia. However, the business does not have alcohol permits or appropriate licenses, is zoned as a church and has been tax-exempt as a church for years, McKeithen said.

Property Appraiser Dan Sowell sided with law enforcement. He said the lot had been tax exempt as a church until word spread about the activities being held within. The property’s tax-exempt status was changed Tuesday morning.

“A bottle club, charging $20 at the door and selling obscene T-shirts is not being used as a church,” Sowell said. “A God-fearing, God-honoring church in January does not sponsor this type of debauchery in March.”

Amnesia’s website reopened Tuesday night with a disclaimer attached.

“The Tabernacle is a drug and alcohol free community for the youth to go for spring break at night to interact with each other in a fun safe environment,” the website now states. “iDrink sponsors this community reach out program with their non-alcoholic bottled water product only. We thank all of our patrons that have attended and will be attending our safe environment.”

The site includes an application sheet to become an “ambassador” of The Tabernacle and “help get the word out about our safe place to go instead of wondering the strip.”

This is not the first time Bishop has faced scrutiny from county tax officials. In 2004, he challenged a property tax assessment on his the 10,000 square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bathroom home he lived in, saying the mansion was a parsonage and should be tax exempt. A string of rulings over years went in favor of Bishop.

Sowell said he also has changed the tax exempt status of that property.

Bishop is currently on probation after pleading to a misdemeanor battery charge that surfaced after a 16-year-old girl said he made unwanted sexual advances toward her.




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