Longboat Key had long held the distinction of being the safest city in Sarasota and Manatee counties. But, in 1999, Venice became the safest city.
What happened? It wasn’t a crime wave that pushed the Key out of the No. 1 spot, but, rather, a single murder in the Longbeach Village. Because it was the island’s first homicide in years, the Key’s murder rate was up 100%, according to official crime statistics reported in the Aug. 10, 2000, issue of the Longboat Observer.
Shoplifting incidents rose from two in 1998 to six in 1999. Aggravated assaults increased from two to five over the same period.
“When you’re dealing with small numbers like we have, it’s easy to have a big jump in the percentage,” said Longboat Key Police Chief John Kintz.
+ Peacocks receive new-home offers
Busch Gardens didn’t want them; neither did the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary or State Fish and Game Commission.
But, at least two new-home offers came through for the Longbeach Village peacocks in August 1982, after the Longboat Key Town Commission directed Police Chief Wayne McCammon to locate an organization or individual who might humanely trap and relocate the peafowl.
An Arcadia farmer expressed interest in the peacocks, as did a Chicago cemetery owner who offered to fly them to the 100-acre preserve that was also home to deer, quail, rabbits and birds.
Thirty-one years later, peacocks remain at home in the Village.
+ Code enforcement reveals naked lady
A Longboat Key code-enforcement officer discovered the naked truth about a vacant home on North Shore Road when he investigated water flowing onto the driveway: There was a nude woman inside the residence.
The woman identified herself as a cleaning lady who was preparing the home for remodeling, according to the Aug. 6, 1998, issue of the Longboat Observer. At 3 a.m. the next morning, a caller reported a woman walking without a shirt on North Shore Road.
The woman said she was living in the abandoned house while repairing it, but the New Jersey-based company that owned it later filed burglary charges. Police found a mattress, bedding and electrical appliances inside the home. They arrested the woman for loitering and prowling.
Aug. 11, 2012
3:33 p.m. — 5200 block of GMD. Disturbance. A woman told police her roommate hit her the day before, leaving her with a black eye. The roommate disagreed, saying the woman’s black eye came from getting robbed the night before while trying to buy drugs.