The feud between downtown Sarasota merchants and the vagrants frequenting Main Street got physical Saturday evening.
Robert Robinson, a 53-year-old homeless man, allegedly threw Vom Fass owner Robert Kay through his storefront window during a scuffle before 8 p.m. Saturday. Kay was treated for a 6-inch laceration on his bicep, according to a Sarasota Police Department affidavit.
Robinson had been harassing customers and using obscenities in front of the gourmet store. When Kay asked him to leave, Robinson punched him in the face, and both men fell through the window after a short struggle, according to witnesses.
Police charged Robinson, who had been booked into the Sarasota County Jail 12 times prior to the incident, with battery after emergency personnel Sarasota Memorial Hospital treated him for cuts.
Main Street merchants say their storefronts have become the new hotspot for many vagrants — and their businesses have been hurt as a result.
Members of the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association say the 1300, 1400 and 1500 blocks of Main Street have seen a greater homeless presence in recent weeks and that illegal activity has gone unchecked on the streets. Three downtown merchants appeared at the May 19 City Commission meeting to ask the city to crack down on the issues.
Currently 6 Responses
- SAVE FRUSTRATION, MONEY AND KEEP SARASOTA SAFE: Have a center AWAY FROM TOWN where the bums can learn a trade, get off drugs and alcohol, get outta our hair. Why do we put up with BUMS???? Some are pedaphiles, thieves, abusers and killers. This has nothing to do with rich and poor. There are hardworking poor who benefit society and may become rich (for people to hate too)
- Hometown USA ?
Helter-skelter growth fueled by City planners and the Commerce Bureau may well result in a tipping point of no return for a high rise City of shadows, populated disproportionately by the very rich and... the very poor.
- Where is the outrage? I am afraid to walk even during the day! What about OUR rights? Enough!
- I, like most of the citizens of Sarasota, am very compassionate to the plight of the homeless. But downtown visitors and store owners are being harassed and now physically assaulted by all of these people. We had a knife fight in the Selby Library a few months back between two homeless individuals. Enough of the meetings, hiring of consultants, and talk. The CITY has to take action and take back downtown. Does someone have to be killed to get action? The City needs to stop ignoring the rights of the individuals that have legitimate reasons to be downtown, in order to be politically correct. Save our downtown, take action now!
- The ACLU is suing the store owner for hitting the Homeless man's fist with his face. ;)
- Guess the University Town Center is getting better and better looking all the time....
27 Thanksgiving Free Public Talk & Veggie Potluck
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
29 Light Up Siesta Village and Holiday Parade
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
30 Advent Procession
3 Rachel's Challenge Anti-Bullying Event hosted by The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
The gift of music
Riverview High School received a donation of $5,000 during a break in the Kiltie Band Fall concert on Nov. 20.
Coming together for the community
All Faiths Food Bank called on volunteers to help distribute 7,000 Thanksgiving dinners Saturday.
Observer on the hunt for displays
We’re making our list of the best holiday lights displays in Sarasota and checking it twice.