The state of Florida is renowned as a hotbed of unusual, distinctive and colorful crimes, leading a constant presence on “weird news” roundup and spawning numerous social media accounts collecting bizarre “Florida man” stories that involve run-ins with the law. The reputation is well- and hard-earned, as some of the state’s weirdest crime stories of 2022 illustrate. Some of these cases are so bizarre, local police couldn’t help posting about them, with commentary, on their own social media pages.
In July, a Florida police department posted an account of an unusual escape attempt on its Facebook page. “A Holt man who jumped into a swamp to avoid Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputies trying to serve him warrants last January was not as successful yesterday when he put a John Deere riding lawnmower into high gear and tried to outrun pursuing deputies. 40-year old Dusty Mobley was tased by deputies chasing him while he tried to make a getaway on the lawnmower around 9:30 Saturday morning.” Replied one local resident: “What I would give to see the video of him on the lawnmower getting tazed, played to Benny Hill theme.”
In March, a Spring Hill, Florida man was arrested after calling 911 to report that he suspected some meth he had recently purchased was fake. Thomas Eugene Colucci asked the police to test it for authenticity, then arrest the dealer. Deputies came to his house and arrested him instead. The police said that if anyone had “doubts about the authenticity of any illegal narcotics you have on-hand or have obtained from another person, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to provide this service, FREE of charge.”
Last month, Florida resident Jesse Dean Lamb, 50, literally lost his shorts as he was fleeing arrest by Suwanee County deputies. He fled a house wearing only bottoms, attempted to escape through a river, but his shorts became unfastened, leaving him nude in the water and unable to get out. “As Jesse was swimming away, he lost his shorts and was now skinny dipping in the river until he came to a large u-shaped dock and hid underneath it,” the sheriff’s office posted on its Facebook page. “Well, for the next couple of hours, we played hide and seek with Jesse; he popped up once but quickly disappeared back under the dock before the deputies could grab him.” He was ultimately apprehended and charged with resisting arrest.
In February, NBC 2 reported that a Port St. Lucie, Florida, man was arrested after abandoning a stolen car on train tracks, which caused the train to send the car flying into an occupied home. Bradford Weitzel, 38, faced multiple charges after allegedly approaching detectives saying he couldn’t find his car after leaving a bar in Martin County. The man reportedly stole a car “in good faith,” but stopped it on train tracks and fled as a train was approaching. The car was struck and careened into a nearby home, which was damaged, but residents were unhurt.
On February 6, a Mims, Florida, man was arrested and charged with stealing a large crossbow from a hardware store by trying to stuff it down his pants and cover it with his jacket. He was caught on surveillance video at True Value hardware store and had difficulty escaping police because he was walking with a crutch. “WELL HERE IS SOMETHING YOU DON’T SEE EVERYDAY…ONE OF THE WORLD’S DUMBEST CRIMINALS CAUGHT ON VIDEO STUFFING A CROSSBOW DOWN HIS PANTS!!” said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, who posted the surveillance video to Facebook. “Believe it or not, [he] actually fled on foot when he observed Deputy Lindo although as you might imagine after seeing the video, he didn’t get very far!! … You just can’t make this stuff up!!”
In April, a 61-year-old Rockledge, Florida, man was arrested for urinating on cases of beer inside the Hop and Pop convenience store. According to a Rockledge police arrest affidavit, the man attempted to use the store’s restroom, but found it locked. He then went into the store’s “beer cave,” unzipped his pants and urinated on cases of beer. The store owner said six cases of beer totaling $113.36 were damaged. The man was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief.