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The Bizarre World of Florida

Wife sent hubby a message by setting his clothes afire April 24, 2015

It’s all fun and games until the house catches on fire.

That’s what some might say following an apparent flaming feud that on April 15 sparked a law enforcement response and caused about $10,000 in damage.

MAILBRITT_CANTERBURYAnother man told police he was renting a bedroom there. He said his landlady fought with her husband before lighting his closet on fire and taking off on a bicycle.Port St. Lucie police went to an address in the 2300 block of Southeast Rock Springs Drive where firefighters were extinguishing a blaze, according to records. A 47-year-old man identified as the victim said he thought his wife, Maibritt Canterbury, 39, set the house on fire.

Police spoke to Canterbury at St. Lucie Medical Center. She said she tried to light some of the victim’s clothes on fire that were on the floor of his closet.

“She did this because of the ongoing back and forth of lighting each other’s property on fire over the last few days,” an affidavit states.

Records didn’t state whether Canterbury is a fan of “Burning Down the House,” a Talking Heads single from 1983, or of Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” album from the same year.

Canterbury said she used a lighter and noticed “a small flame but did not think the fire lit.” She left the room, not intending for the house to catch on fire.

It could be said that the victim fanned the flames by saying that over the past few days they’d been torching each other’s stuff in the backyard.

Asked whether he thought Canterbury meant to catch the house on fire, the victim said, “No, she was probably just trying to burn my stuff.”

A fire investigator determined the blaze started in the victim’s closet, and that there was about $10,000 in damages.

Police held Canterbury’s feet to the fire as they arrested her on an arson charge.

 

Sheriff’s deputy arrested for DUI April 23, 2015

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An Orange County sheriff’s deputy was arrested on charges of driving under the influence, according to authorities.

Florida Highway Patrol said Deputy Gregory Popp was arrested early Sunday morning on State Road 528 near Dallas Boulevard driving home from a Jimmy Buffett concert in Tampa.

Troopers said Popp told them that he had been drinking since 10 a.m. at the concert, which was at 8 p.m. He told troopers that he was trying to get everyone home.

According to the report, Popp’s passenger had nothing to drink for several hours, and her blood-alcohol level was zero.

Popp has since been relieved of his law enforcement duties, credentials and firearms, pending an internal investigation.

Popp has been with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office since 2007 and was assigned to the Agricultural Marine Unit, the Sheriff’s Office said.

He was released from jail on Monday morning.

 

Synthetic-drug suspect head-butted police officer

An Orlando man suspected of consuming synthetic drugs is also accused of head-butting an Orlando police officer after defecating in a police interview room, authorities said.

os-robert-steven-ortiz-jr-20150420Robert Steven Ortiz Jr., remains in the Orange County Jail after his arrest Friday.

Ortiz was among a group of roughly 40 people who gathered at outside in the 40 block of North Magnolia Avenue after 5 p.m. Friday, police said.

Many were yelling and starting fights, so police began to clear out some of the participants.

Officer Mark Levy recognized one of them, Ortiz, from previous police encounters.

Ortiz appeared to be rolling a joint, the report said.

“Ortiz looked up at me and attempted to conceal the joint in his right hand. I reached for his right hand and ordered Ortiz to ‘stop,’ ” Levy’s report said. “I grasped his right wrist and Ortiz pulled his arm away from me and threw the joint on a grated vent in the sidewalk attempting to destroy it. Ortiz then attempted to get around me and walk east on Wall Street.”

Levy detected the odor of synthetic drugs, possibly the fake marijuana commonly known as “K2″ or the synthetic drugs called bath salts.

He ordered Ortiz to stop and the suspect resisted.

“I directed Ortiz to the ground and ordered him to ‘stop resisting’ and ‘put your arms behind your back’ numerous times,” Levy wrote.

A short time later, he placed handcuffs on Ortiz.

But he “suddenly and unexpectedly pulled his arms over his head and in front of his body” and threw a plastic container containing suspected synthetic drugs into the street.

As officers restrained Ortiz, he threatened Levy, saying he was going to head-butt the officer.

Ortiz was arrested and brought to the downtown office for the bike patrol, where he urinated and defecated on the floor, a report said.

Then Ortiz fell and hit his head as he was being taken to the Orange County Jail, according to a report.

The fire department took to Ortiz a local hospital.

Hours later, as Levy was trying to put Ortiz into his vehicle at the hospital, “Ortiz suddenly and aggressively delivered a head butt to the right side temple,” Levy said in a report.

“Ortiz came at me trying to head butt me a second time,” his report said.

Hospital security officers helped Levy secure Ortiz in the vehicle.

Ortiz was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence and resisting an officer without violence.

He was also charged with tampering with physical evidence and nuisances injurious to health.

 

Mom used Facebook to setup fight between teens

A Pasco County mother is under arrest, accused of being caught on video instigating a fight between two teenagers while being armed with a knife.

635651204672401433-TABITHA-ANNE-BENNETT33-year-old Tabitha Anne Bennett is charged with child abuse, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and simple battery. She is currently free on $10,500 bond.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office says on the evening of April 12, Bennett drove her 13-year-old daughter to the area of Moog Road and Colonial Hills Drive so the child could fight with a 14-year-old girl. Bennett allegedly sent a Facebook message to the 14-year-old telling her where to meet for the fight.

Once there, deputies say Bennett got out of her vehicle while holding a folding knife, and told the crowd that had been gathering she would not allow anyone to join in the fight.

At least two cell phones recorded the fight, and were posted to social media. In the video, Bennett is allegedly seen yelling and encouraging her daughter to “get on top” of the 14-year-old. At one point, Bennett is seen kicking the 14-year-old in the side and pulling her to the ground by her hair, allowing her daughter to get on top of her and continue the fight.

According to her arrest report, Bennett said she admitted to encouraging the fight, because she felt her daughter was being bullied and needed to fight back.

The Sheriff’s Office has not released the video, because it is a child abuse case.

 

Home burglar suspect stripped, spit and showered with hose

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.

 

Crowd stopped drunken driver suspect from fleeing crash with beer truck April 22, 2015

A highly intoxicated Leesburg man backed his pickup truck into a beer truck and was stopped from leaving the scene by a bunch of onlookers, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.

553137649eb81.imageBradley Deneen, 48, was taken to the hospital for observation because jail personnel became concerned when a breath test showed him having nearly four times the legal level of alcohol in his system, an arrest affidavit states.

A sheriff’s deputy said he responded to a report of a drunk driver in the area of Picciola Road and Park Holland Road at about 4:45 p.m. Thursday. He arrived on the scene to see Denee’s truck stopped in the northbound lane of Picciola Road with several people standing around it.

The people said they saw Deneen back into a beer truck at a nearby convenience store and try to drive away.

“They observed the defendant was highly intoxicated … and therefore managed to get the defendant to stop his truck a short distance from the crash (approximately one block away), then notified law enforcement,” the affidavit states.

A passenger in the truck said the people prevented Deneen from driving away by standing in front of his truck until law enforcement arrived. Inside the truck, the deputy said he found a bottle of vodka.

Deneen was charged with DUI after he refused to perform field sobriety tests, but he did agree to take a breath test at the Lake County Jail, the affidavit states. His first reading was a .316, or nearly four times the legal limit.

Deneen failed to complete two subsequent tests and was taken to Florida Hospital Waterman because the jail staff was concerned about the amount of alcohol in his system, the affidavit states. After being cleared by the medical staff, Deneen was booked into the Lake County Jail.

 

Family feud leads to pickax, shotgun showdown

On a ranch in Bardin, a family’s domestic disturbance spiraled out of control and left one man in jail after he tried to break down the door of his daughter and son’s home with a pickax.

According to Putnam County deputies, they responded to the ranch on Songbird Road at about 5 p.m.

Elvis-Rhodes-jpgDeputies said when they arrived they found 55-year-old Elvis Rhodes, who had gotten into an argument with his son, Christopher Rhodes, 28, and his daughter Elaina Rhodes, 34.

They said that the argument started because Elvis Rhodes took two beers from a cooler on Christopher and Elaina’s front porch while they were gone.

After he was confronted about it, Elvis got angry and went to the store to replace the beer then headed to his home which was on the same property as his children’s.

A short time later, officials said that Elvis went back to the house and wanted to talk to his kids but they refused and locked themselves in the house.

Deputies said that Elvis wasn’t happy about it and demanded to talk to them by trying to tear down their front door with a pickax.

Christopher, who was afraid of Elvis due to prior violence, grabbed a shotgun and fired through the front door, scaring Elvis off.

Deputies eventually arrested Elvis for burglary and two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Elvis is currently in the Putnam County Jail without bond.

 

 
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