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.


Teens charged in lion statue theft attempt April 28, 2015

Two men from Tallahassee were arrested Saturday when they told Wakulla County deputies they tried to steal the lion statue in Crawfordville’s Azalea Park as part of a prank.


635657343935640056-WCOS-lionTheodore Robert Bruner and Christian Alexander Strickland, both 18, were seen about 1:30 a.m. in the middle of the park on Azalea Drive off Crawfordville Highway. Deputies found that a tow strap attached to the concrete lion was also linked up to a truck. The lion was dragged about 15 feet across the grass before deputies arrived, according to Wakulla County Sheriff Charlie Creel.

The sheriff’s office estimated damage to the grass at $300. The lion is valued at $500. Bruner and Strickland said they were planning to bring the lion to Leon County as part of a prank, according to WCSO.

Both have been charged with grand theft and criminal mischief and were released from the Wakulla County Jail on Saturday after posting bail.


Man wearing ‘Warning: I do dumb things’ T-shirt jailed April 27, 2015

Naples Police arrested a man responsible for vehicle burglaries near beach parking areas during the months of February and March.

7561002_GPolice investigated several vehicle burglaries that were reported at the beach parking areas located in the central portion of the city.  During the investigation, police identified the suspect as David Durham, 40, of Naples.

On April 23rd, Durham was arrested and charged for three vehicle burglaries.

One burglary occurred on February 22 at the 1st Avenue North beach access. Durham was charged with burglary of a conveyance, grand theft and criminal mischief for the burglary.

The second burglary occurred on March 21 at the 6th Avenue North beach access.  Durham was charged with burglary of a conveyance and criminal mischief for this burglary.

The third burglary occurred on April 10th again at the 1st Avenue North beach access. Durham was charged with attempted burglary of a conveyance for the crime.

At the time of his arrest, Durham admitted to committing the crimes.


Home burglar suspect stripped, spit and showered with hose April 23, 2015

Authorities continue to search for a suspected home burglar who stripped and showered with a garden hose in Cocoa.

635648729581659216-VerityThe incident started around 12:30 p.m. Thursday when Cocoa police say the man broke into a woman’s screened-in porch in the Quail Ridge subdivision in Cocoa, stealing a few of her belongings, according to FLORIDA TODAY.

As she confronted him, he apparently took off and headed toward Jason and Tommi Baker’s house, just a few doors down.

“I’m sitting in my garage working on stuff for my boat and this guy comes riding his bike in and crashes right inside my garage,” said Jason Baker.

“You would’ve thought he lived here,” said Tommi Baker. “He was just digging through stuff over there, taking my cigarettes. So, I grabbed my purse and had it in my arm.”

Along with the suspect stealing some of their belongings, the Bakers also caught him spitting on their floors before stripping down and taking a shower with their garden hose.

“He just walked on back and opened the door and turned on the spigot and was showering down,” said Tommi. “And I’m looking at my husband like, ‘What is this guy doing?'”

Police said as they arrived on the street, the suspect ran and stole clothes off of a clothesline.

They then chased him as he headed into a wooded area behind the Cocoa Commons shopping plaza on State Road 524.

Authorities established a perimeter and a K-9 was brought in, but due to heavy brush, they were unable to find the suspect.

A Cocoa police officer suffered a minor hand injury during the search.

Police have taken into custody Richard William Verity, 47, was apprehended at 1 p.m. on Friday.

He is charged with burglary to an occupied structure, resisting law enforcement officials without violence, burglary and theft.


Burglar fights officers, mimics their commands in bizarre incident April 2, 2015

Jeffrey Robert Cavanaugh broke into one car, tried to carjack another, and even went after a police car but all it got him was a ride to the hospital, Margate Police said.

mimicCavanaugh, 19, of Margate, was stealing several items from the back seat of a Kia Sephia in the 6100 block of Northwest First Street early Monday until the father of the car owner chased him off, police said.

Cavanaugh ran down the street and opened the door of an occupied car and said, “give me the keys right now,” but a man and woman sped off in the car, according to the arrest report.

They later told police Cavanaugh’s hand was wrapped in a shirt as if to conceal a handgun. When the first officer arrived at the scene, Cavanaugh walked toward him while pointing his concealed right arm and cursing, the report stated.

The officer took cover behind a parked vehicle and ordered Cavanaugh to show his hands and get on the ground but Cavanaugh mimicked the officer by crouching behind a vehicle and yelling, “show me your hands,” and “get on the ground,” while pointing the shirt-covered hand at the officer, police said.

When more police arrived, Cavanaugh ran off and jumped a fence and officers lost sight of him. A few minutes later Cavanaugh reappeared and walked toward the officers with his concealed hand pointing at them again, the report stated.

When Cavanaugh refused repeated orders to show his hands and get on the ground, a police dog brought him down. Officers found a black, L-shaped piece of plastic in Cavanaugh’s concealed hand, police said.

Margate Fire Rescue arrived to treat Cavanaugh’s wounds suffered during the K9 encounter. When police tried to handcuff Cavanaugh, he jumped up and ran toward a parked police car but was wrestled to the ground and taken into custody about 6 a.m., officers said.

They took him to Northwest Medical Center in Margate for treatment. The arrest report said there was indication that Cavanaugh appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

He is facing charges that include a car burglary and several aggravated assaults on law enforcement officers with violence, records show.


Bragging suspect brings down band of thieves March 31, 2015

A Bonita Springs home was the focus of an investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Saturday.
The home is located on Cherry Drive — just north of Bonita Beach Road.  Deputies led three people out of the house in handcuffs and put them in the back of a squad car.
“This armored truck-like vehicle came rumbling in, and then out of the middle of nowhere more police vehicles came zooming in,” described one neighbor.  “They blew the doors off the house, and you heard all this hollering and screaming.”
“Not surprised at what goes on here.  This is not the first time.  One morning I heard gunshots,” said another neighbor.
A neighbor tells us since January she has called the sheriff’s office more than two dozen times about activity at the house.  Now, neighbors are wondering what’s happened inside the home to prompt the sudden presence.
During their investigation, detectives say $250,000 worth of gold coins were stolen, a dozen firearms, body armor, a safe and a Mercedes Benz. Detectives also say Myles Winzenried, identified as the ringleader, was bragging to his friends about how much cash he made selling the coins. He allegedly gave one of the weapons, a black AR 15 with flare launcher, to a friend.
Five in all were arrested, according to the sheriff’s office:

Myles Winzenried of 11080 Cherry Drive, Bonita Springs, charged with Grand Theft greater that $100,000; Armed Burglary of Unoccupied Dwelling; Dealing in Stolen Property; Grand Theft Auto.

Shalima Powell of 11080 Cherry Drive, Bonita Springs, charged with Grand Theft greater at $100,000; Dealing in Stolen Property.

Devin Thomas  of 11080 Cherry Drive, Bonita Springs, charged with Grand Theft Greater than $100,000.

Maria Tasho of 3300 Bermuda Isle Circle, Naples, charged with Dealing in Stolen Property.

Joshua Persad  of 1262 11th St. North, Naples, charged with Dealing in Stolen Property.

The five made a first appearance in court Sunday for their bond assessments.


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.



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