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The Bizarre World of Florida

Car chase suspect “wanted to get high before going to jail” March 26, 2015

A man in a stolen car fled from Jupiter police, and then ingested cocaine and Xanax because he “wanted to get high before going to jail,” according to an arrest report.

runnerPolice said they stopped John Grossman, 25, at about 2 a.m. Monday near the McDonald’s at 6760 W. Indiantown Road because his headlight was out. When the officer ran the tags, he realized the car had been stolen, according to the report.

Officers said they could smell marijuana in the car. They also told him the car was stolen, but Grossman said he had just bought the car and could show them the title. When he was supposed to reaching over to the glove box, Grossman put the car in gear and took off toward I-95, according to the report.

After a brief chase that went onto the interstate, Grossman finally got out of the car. Officers said they saw a white powder on his face and he admitted to taking Xanax pills.

“I know what I did was stupid,” Grossman told officers, according to the report. “I’m just going to get high before I go out. … I know I’m going back to prison.”
Police found Xanax, cocaine, marijuana and about $700 in cash in the car.

He faces 11 different charges, including fleeing a police officer, driving with a suspended license, possession of a controlled substance, battery and possession of drugs with intent to sell.

He is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail on $12,000 bail.

 

Guns don’t shoot people, but they do sort out food fights

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco says they still don’t know what led to a fight between a group of brothers that ended with two of them dead and another one in the hospital.

helen-trevor-326At a press conference Thursday morning, Nocco released the names of the brothers; Trevor Pimentel, 16, Kevin Pimentel, 12, Brady Pimentel, 6. He said Kevin would’ve turned 13 at the end of this month.

Nocco said initially they believed the fight was over food but now say Trevor and Kevin were preparing food at the time an argument broke out.

Deputies received the call at 6:19 p.m. from a mobile home in the 16000 block of Bachmann Avenue in Hudson.

“Sixteen-year-old Trevor called 911, telling the dispatcher his brother, Kevin, 12 years old, had just shot Brady, 6, then shot himself,” Nocco said.

A deputy arriving on scene heard a boy screaming and he charged into the house, Nocco said.

Trevor was transported to a local hospital with a non-life threatening gunshot wound, according to deputies. Nocco said Trevor has been cooperative but he is emotional.

“Trevor’s heart rate would go up during interview process with detectives,” Nocco said. “He is grieving.”

The boys’ mother, Helen Campochiaro, was at work. Nocco described her as hard-working, noting she has two jobs and was recently in a car accident but chose to keep working.

An 18-year-old brother that also lives at the home also was not at the residence at the time of the shooting.

Brady attended Hudson Elementary School, Kevin went to Hudson Middle School and Trevor attended Hudson High School in the mornings through virtual education classes, according to Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Crisis teams will be at the elementary and middle schools “as long as we need to,” Browning said. “It’s very tragic but we are working to heal families and students.”

Browning said Trevor attended Marchmen Technical College’s culinary program in the afternoons.

Nocco said there are no signs child protection investigators or law enforcement has ever been to the home before.

 

Couple Arrested For Having Sex In Front Of Youngsters Near Florida Playground March 25, 2015

An amorous couple is facing criminal charges after they were spotted having sex in front of a group of children near a Florida playground, according to cops.

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Danielle Stager, 26, and Shane Johnson, 38, were initially observed late Friday afternoon with their pants down while next to a tree near the playground in Greenacres, a city about 10 miles from Palm Beach.

A quartet of youngsters–none of whom was older than 10–told police that they spotted the pantsless pair.

By the time cops responded to a call about the public sex, they discovered that Stager and Johnson had relocated to a nearby truck, where they were continuing to have sex (Stager’s feet were dangling out the driver’s side door while Johnson kneeled above her).

Upon spotting the police, Stager announced, “Shane, we are going to jail.”

Seen in the above mug shots, Stager and Johnson were each charged with lewd and lascivious behavior and booked into the Palm Beach County jail on the misdemeanor count. Both were subsequently released from custody after posting bond.

 

Drunken mom arrested after young son found wandering on busy road

A mother was passed out and intoxicated, while her young son was found wandering on State Road 434.

Investigators said Ramona Petty’s 6-year-old son was found more than a mile away on Sheoah Boulevard.

Ramona-Petty-jpgHowever, Petty spoke with Eyewitness News reporter Tim Barber and said there wasno way her son could have walked that far because he gets tired very quickly.

Petty admitted to Barber that she did not remember a lot from Sunday night.

Investigators said a driver spotted Petty’s 6-year-old and called 911.

The officers who rescued the boy said they recognized him from previous cases that involved his mother. The officers said they brought him home, where Petty was drunk and lying in the grass with her 5-year-old daughter.

“My son, he has this little habit of taking off and he runs because behind here we have trees and woods. So, my daughter and I are screaming, ‘Joseph! Joseph!’ Can’t find him, can’t find him,” said Petty.

Petty said she had a few drinks, but denied being drunk. She said she did not believe that her son was capable of walking a mile from their apartment to State Road 434.

“It’s not true, because he would have stopped at the park. He is not like that. It’s not true,” Petty said.

A police document shows that Petty had marks on her face because she “fell down” while officers were trying to arrest her on child abuse charges. She was also charged with resisting arrest.

Court records show that it was not Petty’s first time in trouble. She was arrested on child neglect charges in 2013 for a similar situation. In that case, she pleaded no contest and took anger management, substance abuse and parenting classes.

 

‘Cremated’ Florida businessman was very much alive. He’s now charged in $9 million fake death scam. March 24, 2015

Jose Salvador Lantigua was dead.

deadIn April 2013, the debt-ridden furniture store owner traveled to Venezuela — during a time his health had been deteriorating, Florida news reports said. His family claimed he passed away on the trip. The U.S. embassy in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, confirmed he died in Rio Chico, a tourist town by the Caribbean Sea. The Cuban native was reportedly cremated, his ashes scattered in South America.

It turns out, Lantigua was very much alive. Any lingering doubt about it vanished on Monday when he appeared in a federal courtroom in Asheville, N.C.

It was all a ruse — an alleged plan to escape mountains of debt and collect more than $9 million in bogus life insurance claims, according to prosecutors.

Over the weekend, Lantigua, a 62-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested near his wife’s affluent mountain home in North Carolina. He has been charged with a one count of making a false statement on a passport application. He has also been charged in state court in Florida with seven counts of filing fraudulent insurance claims and another count of scheming to fraud, according to the Associated Press.

His wife, Daphne Simpson, was also arrested and faces the same state charges.

Indeed, the two-year mystery and its messy conclusion came as a shock to some back in Jacksonville, where Lantigua seemed to be a business success. He was a former executive for Fidelity National Information Services who bought a furniture store in 2008 and turned it into a “local favorite,” the Jacksonville Business Journal reported in 2013. A few years later, he opened another store on the other side of town. He even announced plans for a third. But during his alleged death scam, the newspaper revealed his estate was more than $8 million in the red.

His story started to fall apart amid lawsuits between life insurance companies and Lantigua’s son. The family claimed Lantigua died overseas, but insurance companies didn’t believe them and refused to pay the claims.

Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company, which was supposed to shell out $2.5 million on a life insurance policy to settle Lantigua’s debt at a local bank, started investigating the death, according to the Jacksonville Business Journal. It sent a letter to his family’s attorney saying it knew the truth, and it filed a lawsuit stating it shouldn’t have to make payments.

“Our investigation has revealed that Mr. Lantigua is alive and living in Venezuela,” a claim examiner wrote, according to the Florida Times‑Union. Without a death, the letter added, “there is no benefit payable on this claim.”
The family’s attorney at the time, Ray Driver, objected. “I have a certified death certificate and a certificate of the death of a U.S. citizen abroad from our U.S. State Department,” he said. “And I have not seen any evidence to refute those two pieces of paper.”

In the lawsuit, however, an investigator hired by the life insurance company claimed a Venezuelan attorney admitted he “participated in a scheme to fabricate documentation” for the death and that a funeral home director was “complicit in the scheme.” The funeral home allegedly got a doctor — who never saw the body — to sign the death certificate, the Jacksonville Business Journal reported.

Lantigua’s son fought back, accusing the insurance company of running a dirty investigation. But in the end, Lantigua seemed to seal his own fate.

In September of last year, the supposedly deceased Lantigua got a North Carolina driver’s license and birth certificate using the name of a former New York postal worker. Two months later, he used that identification to apply for a U.S. passport, according to a federal criminal complaint cited by the AP.

The passport application caught the attention of the State Department because the postal worker had applied for his own passport in 1999 and it didn’t quite match Lantigua’s passport application. They were different heights. Their eye color, hair color — and skin color — were also different. The photo from 1999 showed a black man. The one from 2014 showed a white man.

On the passport application, Lantigua also put down his wife’s real name as his emergency contact and listed his address as the one that matched her North Carolina home.

After weeks watching the house, federal investigators pulled over Lantigua in a Jeep Wrangler. He was wearing a “poorly dyed beard” and brown toupee, investigators said.

When he was arrested, he reportedly signed a document waiving his Miranda rights. “It’s been a long time since I signed my true name,” he said, according to court papers.

 

Naked man in Fort Pierce: ‘I’m famous now look at what I did’

A naked man stands accused of trashing a portion of North 15th Street before screaming, “I’m famous now look at what I did.”

Fort Pierce police at 3:07 a.m. March 11 went to North 15th Street and G Terrace after a report of a shirtless man jumping on a vehicle, according to records.

antuan_anderson_mugThe deputy reported when she pulled up, Anderson jumped on her patrol vehicle. He started banging on the front window and broke off a windshield wiper.Investigators encountered Antuan Anderson, 32, on the ground, naked and screaming. A St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy had him at gunpoint. Anderson started kicking and spitting and exclaimed, “I’m famous now look at what I did.”

The deputy said she got out and demanded he get on the ground. Anderson took off the remainder of his clothes and got on the ground.

Investigators found several mailboxes damaged and a stop sign and pole ripped from the ground. A drain grate cover was out of place; garbage cans and bags were strewn about; and a metal fence and fence posts were scattered around.

Officers later were told of additional damage, including a vandalized or damaged light fixture, fence and windshield wipers. Anderson also is accused of denting the roof of a car and ripping away a basketball hoop.

Two people reported “Anderson was running around the neighborhood naked vandalizing things.”

Anderson, of the 1500 block of G Terrace in Fort Pierce, was arrested on several criminal mischief related charges along with resist officer with violence and two outstanding warrants.

 

Meow! Woman found burglar under bed while looking for cat March 20, 2015

A 61-year-old woman expected to feel the soft fur of her cats when she searched under her bed for them.

catBut to her surprise, she felt a person instead. She had just touched the burglar who was hiding under her bed, Palm Springs police said.

It happened Tuesday at a home in the 100 block of Cayman Drive.

A stranger was knocking on residents’ doors, drawing the suspicion of a neighbor who phoned the police. The neighbor watched the man walk toward the rear of a residence, according to the report.

Inside that home, a woman was searching for her two cats.

As the woman reached under her bed, she “felt she had touched human skin,” an officer wrote in the report. “The suspect was hiding under her bed.”

That caused the man, later identified as Christian Vatovec, 25, of Lake Worth, to sprint from the home and jump a fence before running west toward Henthorne Drive, police said.

Police responded to the neighborhood, and an officer visited the residence where the burglar had been.

The woman said a gold ankle bracelet and digital camera were stolen. Officers found Vatovec near a canal and took him back to the burglarized home, where the woman identified him as the burglar.

Vatovec faces burglary, grand theft and resisting arrest charges. He was booked into Palm Beach County Jail, where he was held in lieu of $53,000 bail.

 

 
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