'Weird Florida' 2019 Jan 25, 2020 18:51:33 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Jan 25, 2020 18:51:33 GMT -5
‘Weird Florida’ 2019
Florida is known for many things. Sunshine, beaches, oranges and alligators; the magic of Disney and the glamour of South Beach .... But it’s also known for its weirdness, with the phrase “Florida man” having become a national joke. Following are some of – though by no means all – the weird stories for the year 2019 and once again, the hot, humid peninsula doesn’t disappoint.
‘Those needles in my ass aren’t mine.’ On January 4, while undergoing a strip-search during the booking process at the Pinellas County jail, three syringes were discovered in Wesley Scott’s rectum. Scott, however, who had been arrested on an outstanding warrant, insisted the syringes were not his. An additional charge of introducing contraband into a correctional facility was added to Scott’s charges.
A machete named ‘Kindness.’ According to a report from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, on January 10, Bryan Duane Stewart told his neighbor he was going to “kill ‘em with kindness” shortly before attacking the man with a machete on which the word “kindness” was written. The victim was unharmed with the exception of a small cut on his hand. Stewart was charged with aggravated assault and arrested.
Copycat doorbell-licker. In California, a man was arrested for licking a doorbell and a few weeks later, a Florida man did the same. On January 24, a man carrying a stack of flyers approached a home in Lake Worth and alternated between pointing to various sections of the flyer and leaning in to lick the doorbell. The miscreant was known to the homeowner as the homeless son of a neighbor and wasn’t charged.
Crooked mayors. In the city of Port Richey, two mayors (above) were arrested within a span of 21 days. On February 21, Mayor Dale Massad was arrested on charges of practicing medicine without a license, and when his home was raided shortly thereafter, he allegedly opened fire on authorities. After Terrence Rowe was appointed mayor, he and Richey conspired to “take care of” a particular police officer, and on March 13, he, too, was arrested. The current mayor, Scott Tremblay, hasn’t been arrested ... yet.
Cookies can be dangerous. Wade Alan Smith (aka “Tattoo Wade”) was taken into custody February 24 by the Pasco County Sheriff’s office after throwing a “hard piece of cookie” at his girlfriend, striking her forehead with enough force to leave a mark. In describing the object Smith threw, the arresting officer described the cookie as “Other Dangerous” weapon.
Naked cyclist on I-95. On March 3, motorists in Miami videotaped an almost-naked man, wearing hot pink socks, sneakers, skimpy underwear and a pink headband, riding a bicycle backwards down I-95. In one of the recordings, a driver can be heard saying, “He coming. Watching this shit.” Laughing, he adds, “79th street exit. Only in fucking Miami!”
‘Army of turtles.’ On April 7, Thomas Devaney Lane, 61, was jailed in Brevard County after police received seven calls – from three separate locations – that he was disturbing the peace. Lane, who repeatedly referred to himself as a “saint,” visited three cafés and threatened to “destroy everyone with an army of turtles.” The Indialantic Police Department dispatched officers to investigate and although Lane accompanied them to headquarters, he soon left after yelling at the dispatcher. He then called 911 and threatened the dispatcher again, after which he was arrested. Lane is facing multiple charges that include resisting an officer without violence and misuse of 911.
Man calls 911 to brag about evading police. On May 4, a St. Johns County deputy was attempting to pull over a Hyundai when the car took off, speeding out of a parking lot. Approximately an hour later, a man called 911 claiming to be the driver of the escaping vehicle and bragging how easy it was to get away. According to the 911 transcript, he said, “Like what do we pay you guys for ... like I’ve drove past four cops.” The driver, Nicholas Jones, was apprehended the following day. The arresting officer advised Jones the first deputy did not have his license plate number and had he not been dumb enough to call 911, he would likely have gotten away with his crime. He was charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, misusing 911 and violation of probation.
Alligator joins picnic. On May 30, a Gainesville couple, Taylor Forte and Trevor Walters, were picnicking at Lake Alice when a huge alligator chased them off their blanket and consumed their food, which included a block of cheese, salami, half a watermelon, a pound of grapes and a large bowl of guacamole. Then Walters – who had just joined the Marine Corps – spread his arms to make himself appear bigger and approached the gator while making noise and the reptile turned tail and sprinted back into the water. In describing the experience, Walter said, “He annihilated an entire block of cheese. Gobbled it down, lickety-split. The salami didn’t stand a chance.”
Dope-laced candy. Also in May, Collier County detectives seized 332 different marijuana-laced edibles sold in wrapping that resembled popular candies, such as Sour Patch Kids, estimated to sell for approximately $33,600. Although medical marijuana is legal in the state of Florida, there are laws prohibiting its packaging in a manner that could potentially attract children. According to a spokesperson, THC-infused food in Florida must be “sealed in plain, opaque wrapping and marked with a universal marijuana symbol.”
Don’t kiss dogs. On June 19, Andrea Swartwood was bitten in the face by a 200-pound bull mastiff when she attempted to kiss the animal. Swartwood was transported to the hospital, but because of the severity of the injuries to her left cheek and lip, she was transferred to a trauma center for assessment by a plastic surgeon.
No more ‘Monkey Mondays.’ Carabba’s Italian Grill in Stewart canceled its “Monkey Mondays” after a 9-month-old capuchin monkey named JoJo bit a child’s finger. The incident happened on July 16 and 6-year-old Jaxon Ignelzi, the injured boy, was treated at a nearby hospital.
‘It was not a nice kinkajou.’ On July 25, Mike Litersky, 37, was attacked by a kinkajou (a racoon-type creature with a prehensile tail native to Central and South America). He had seen the animal the night before and fed it watermelon. Following the attack, Gilliam Hicks, Litersky’s girlfriend, said “It was not a nice kinkajou.”
Lightning strike explodes toilet. In Port Charlotte, on the morning of Sunday, August 4, lightning struck a home’s septic tank. No one was injured and homeowner Marylou Ward commented, “We come in here and the toilet was laying on the floor. There’s pieces everywhere. Pieces everywhere. I’m just glad none of us were on the toilet.”
Vultures invade $700,000 home. In August, Anthony and Siobhan Casimano, owners of a $702,000 vacation home in West Palm Beach, reported their property was overrun by buzzards. The house is near the lush Grassy Waters Preserve, which is said to be a regular feeding and roosting area for “dozens, if not hundreds,” of the birds. The heavy-bodied vultures dented the homeowners’ car and dismantled screened enclosures, crapped on their own legs to cool themselves, vomited when approached or disturbed and generally made a nuisance of themselves. Neighbors were also bothered by the pesky buzzards. A spokesperson for the luxurious Ibis Property Owners Association said the problem stems from a resident’s continuing to feed the birds, despite having been warned on several occasions not to do so and a cease-and-desist letter from an attorney.
Cake frosting and crap. On August 26, a school resource officer discovered someone had broken into and vandalized Bear Lake Elementary School. Surveillance video showed 25-year-old Christian Dominic Shay jumping a fence in the dead of night and entering the school, where he proceeded to spread cake frosting and feces on desks, chairs and a TV remote.
Gator in the pool. In October, Paul Bedard, a contractor with the state’s nuisance alligator program, responded to a call about a gator in a Parkland swimming pool. Bedard “played” with the 8-foot long reptile until it became tired, then lifted it out of the water and held it over his head for an Instagram photo. “I haven’t had a good-sized gator in a swimming pool in probably a year, so I was kind of looking forward to this when I got the call,” he said. The alligator was relocated to a wildlife park.
A door prize to die for. On November 7, when Lohman Funeral Home in Port Orange held it’s grand opening, guests were invited to register for a free cremation valued at $1,795.
Labrador in runaway car. On November 23, police in Port St. Lucie responded to a runaway vehicle spinning in reverse around a suburban cul-de-sac. When they stopped the car and opened the door, a Black Labrador jumped out. It is believed the owner left the motor running and the dog somehow knocked it into reverse. Another reason to leave dogs at home where they belong.
It’s just a banana! A Miami couple spent more than $100,000 on the “unicorn of the art world” – a banana duct-taped to a wall – during Art Basel, a show featuring modern and contemporary art with a strong curatorial perspective. The piece was widely copied and mocked on social media and then on Saturday, December 7, a man ripped the banana from the wall and ate it. Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan sold three editions of “Comedian,” each in the $120,000 to $150,000 range. “We are acutely aware of the blatant absurdity of the fact that Comedian is an otherwise inexpensive and perishable piece of produce and a couple inches of duct tape,” one person who purchased the banana remarked. “Ultimately we sense that Cattelan’s banana will become an iconic historical object.”
‘Buck naked’ sex offender. Also in December, Rodney Davis, 56, was one of 124 men arrested during Operation Santa’s Naughty List, a “sex sting” set up by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. Davis, a security guard at Disney World, came prepared for action – he was “buck naked.” In recounting the incident, Judd explained, “This guy walked up to the front door of this home in a neighborhood on a cool evening buck naked. Now if you don’t know the difference in naked and buck naked, buck naked means you’re not even wearing your socks. He didn’t have a stitch of clothes on but he was carrying a shirt, I guess in case of an emergency.”
Sources: Sammy Leary, Ranker, January 14, 2019; Tamara Lush, The Associated Press, December 31, 2019; Howard Cohen and Slobhan Morrissey, The Miami Herald, December 7, 2019; Michelle Mark, The Associated Press, November 23, 2019; Jim Abbot, The Daytona Beach News-Journal, November 6, 2019; Sara Marino, Treasure Coast Newspapers, August 23, 2019; Michelle Quesada, WPTV, August 22, 2019; Allen Kim, CNN, August 17, 2019; "Woman Attacked by 200-Pound Dog She Was Trying to Kiss," WhatLiesBeyond, June 21, 2019; and Justin Trombly, The Tampa Bay News, March 25, 2019.