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Cops Corner
Sarasota Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 2 months ago

Best of Cops Corner: 2020

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Some of the most memorable police reports of 2020.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

Jan. 12

FENDER BENDER
9:40 a.m. — 1200 block of North Palm Avenue
Property damage: A man parked his car at a public garage and went to get a cup of coffee. When he returned to his car about an hour later, he heard his car alarm going off and found a dent in the tailgate of the car’s hatch. The man believed someone either punched or elbowed his vehicle. The man said he had his car extensively detailed the previous day and was positive the dent was not there when he left his home that morning. No witnesses saw what caused the damage to the man’s car.

Jan. 20 

BAGGAGE MISHANDLING
7:46 p.m. — 500 block of South Spoonbill Drive
Dispute: A woman argued with a private security officer while dropping off suitcases for her son at her ex-husband’s house. The ex-husband’s fiancee said the woman threw the suitcases toward the officer and left before police arrived. The fiancee said no physical altercation occurred and that nobody was injured. The fiancee said she has been having problems with the woman. She said the woman told her she would come back with her boyfriend, though no threats were made. Officers advised the fiancee to contact neighborhood security officers to ensure they were aware of potential issues.

Feb. 2

PARTY TIME IS OVER
12:36 a.m. — 700 block of Freeling Drive
Noise complaint: A man said he was having recurring problems with his teenaged neighbor holding house parties with loud music and people. The man said he called the police a couple of times the previous night before the party stopped. He said the house was playing loud bass music again that night, which stopped prior to an officer arriving. The officer walked to the neighbor’s house and saw two teenagers look at him, slam the front door and lock it. They did not answer when the officer continued to ring the doorbell. The teenager’s father eventually answered the door and stated his son just woke him up. The father said he was unaware of any complaints from the previous night and that the party was done for the evening.

Feb. 2

ROUGH WATERS
11:15 a.m. — 1000 block of N. Tamiami Trail
Suspicion: A woman complained about loud boats in Sarasota Bay. An officer went to the scene and saw several high speed boats, some of which he recognized from local boat races. The officer did not observe any violations, and there were no posted speed zones or wake restrictions where the boats were operating. An officer spoke to the owner of one of the boats, who said the boat drivers were training. An officer explained to the woman the boats were not violating any regulations. The woman reiterated her belief the boats were too loud and was unhappy with the laws the officer explained.

Feb. 21

SHOP & SWAP
5 p.m. — 1100 block of Ritz-Carlton Drive
Dispute: A woman was staying at a hotel for a convention, where she bought approximately $4,000 worth of dresses and shoes. When she checked out, the woman gave her baggage to the bellhop to have the items placed into her car. The bellhop put the baggage into the wrong car. The woman said she wanted to document the incident in a police report before she left the state. Hotel staff said they were looking at security footage to find the car where the baggage got misplaced.

Feb. 23

FOWL PLAY
1:38 a.m. — 1300 block of Main Street
Dispute: An employee at a restaurant said a woman came into the business with her dogs and caused a disturbance by repeatedly crowing like a rooster. The employee said the woman left the business in a van. Officers later stopped the woman, who confirmed she was crowing like a rooster and agreed that it could have bothered other people in the restaurant. Officers issued a verbal warning, and the woman left without issue.

March 1

GAME OVER
6 p.m. — 3900 block of Lakeside Drive
Dispute: A man called the police to report an issue he had with someone he hired to build a computer game for him. The man said he had paid in full for the game, but the person he hired refused to give him the “final key” to the game. The man said the game did not work without that component.

March 5

FAUX PAS
3:02 p.m. — 1900 block of Bay Road
Financial crime: A jewelry shop owner called police about a potential fraud case. The owner said a man came in wanting to sell a brand name watch for $18,000. As a shop employee attempted to check the watch’s authenticity, the man pressured them to expedite the process because he had made a long drive from another city. The store agreed to purchase the watch for $15,000. The next day, the owner reviewed the transaction and discovered the watch was not authentic. The owner contacted the man who sold it, who said another person verified its authenticity. The owner said he was 100% sure the watch was fake and asked the man to return the money, at which point the man declined, said the shop owner was “screwed” and hung up.

March 14

FUNNY MONEY
4:51 a.m. — 0 block of South Tuttle Avenue
Theft: An employee at a store said a customer tried to buy items using fake currency with a cartoon character on it. An officer made contact with the customer at the business next door. The customer said his friend gave him the fake bill to purchase items at the store, and he didn’t realize it wasn’t real until he gave it to the employee. The officer gave the customer a trespass warning for the store.

May 3

SIGN O’ THE CRIMES
12:54 a.m. — 700 block of North Tamiami Trail
Property damage: A woman was sitting in her parked car when she began to hear a noise. She looked over and saw a group of three or four people hitting and shaking parking signs. The individuals took the signs out of the ground and threw them. The group then left the area in a pickup truck, with two or three individuals riding in the bed. An officer later stopped a truck matching the description the woman gave and gathered all of the occupants’ information.

May 5

FREE RIDE
1:17 p.m. — 100 block of North Lemon Avenue
Theft: The owner of a taxi company picked up a passenger in Tampa and drove her to a bus station in downtown Sarasota. The driver said he told the passenger it would be $155 for the trip, at which point she began looking around for her wallet and said she could not find it. The passenger said her wallet was stolen, and she could not pay him. The passenger demanded to get her luggage from the trunk of the taxi. When the driver called the police, the passenger walked to the bus station and left the area on a bus. Security was unable to get the passenger off the bus or hold the bus until police arrived.

May 10

WINE & DASH
10 p.m. —  1500 block of Main Street
Theft: The owner of a restaurant reported that a man and woman came into the business and ordered a meal. While they were dining, the man reportedly walked from their table to the bathroom multiple times. At one point, the man reportedly grabbed a bottle of wine worth $42 and placed it on another table in the middle of the restaurant. After they were done eating, the couple paid and left a cash tip. A server reported seeing the man take an unknown portion of the cash tip as he was leaving the restaurant. Later in the night, restaurant staff noticed the bottle of wine was missing. The restaurant owner reviewed security footage and saw the man take the wine, tip and also three or four beers.

May 31

BELOW BOARD
7:05 p.m. — 1700 block of Ken Thompson Parkway
Misc. officer: A man reported that he was on his hydrofoil surfboard when a boat sped by him in an attempt to toss him off his board. He said there were approximately 10 people on the boat, and they recorded themselves heckling as they sped past. The boat then left the area and could not be located.

June 14

IS THIS YOUR CARD?
1:59 p.m — 1500 block of First Street
Lost/found property: An officer was attempting to use an ATM when he found a debit card still in the machine. Another officer attempted to contact the cardholder at his residence but could not make contact with them. The officer left a note for the man stating the card could be retrieved at the police department.

June 20

BUMPER CAR WASH
11:02 a.m. — 1500 block of North Washington Boulevard
Property damage: A man complained his truck was damaged inside a car wash. He said three cars were inside the car wash at the same time. When the first car did not exit quickly enough, the second and third cars collided on the conveyor belt, damaging the truck’s front bumper. The other two drivers left before an officer arrived. The officer encouraged the man to report the incident to his insurance company.

June 27

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
10:25 p.m. — 3400 block of Fruitville Road
Dispute: The manager of a hotel closed the pool area because guests were not following social distancing guidelines. The guests were part of a youth baseball team, and many of the parents became angry and felt the hotel staff was targeting them. The manager called law enforcement to defuse the situation. An officer stood by while the manager announced the pool was closed to ensure the safety of all guests. Several parents voiced their opinions on the matter before going back to their rooms.

July 3

THE HOLE TRUTH
4:08 p.m. — 200 block of South Beneva Road
Dispute: An employee at a car wash said a customer accused workers of puncturing a large hole in one of the seats of her car. The employee said the customer was hostile with staff. The employee returned the customer’s money but wanted officers to issue her a trespass warning. An officer said it appeared the hole might have been present prior to the cleaning.

July 23

NOT RED-HANDED
3:18 p.m. — 200 block of North Tuttle Avenue
Dispute: A woman reported someone had thrown ketchup on her apartment’s front door. The woman did not see who did it, but she suspected her neighbor’s children might be responsible. An officer spoke to the neighbor, who said her children were not involved and that she had told them to stay away from the neighbor’s apartment.

July 31

HOG WILD
12:16 a.m. — 300 block of South Tuttle Avenue
Assist other agency: Two residents located a small pig in the road and corralled it into a yard. An officer took custody of the pig, which was approximately 2 feet long and 40 pounds. The pig was uninjured. There was no indication of where the pig came from, and an officer determined conducting a canvass at 1 a.m. was not ideal. Officers transported the pig to Sarasota County Animal Services.

Aug. 8 

THE WRONG TRACK
12:15 p.m. — 1000 block of Circus Boulevard
Property damage: An employee at a golf course discovered tire tracks near one of the holes. The employee said the tracks didn’t belong to a golf cart, and other vehicles are not allowed on the course. The employee also said someone stole a 1-square-foot section of the green on another hole.

Aug. 29 

BROKEN ARM
10:32 p.m. — 1200 block of North Palm Avenue
Property damage: A parking garage employee reported that a man attempted to jump over the entrance gate. The man accidentally landed on the gate arm, which caused the gate to break. The man left the area in a car. An officer confirmed the gate was broken and hanging down from its normal position. Based on the employee’s information, the officer determined the man did not have any malicious intent when he attempted to jump the gate.

Sept. 6

DRYER DRAMA
7:08 p.m. — 1200 block of Benjamin Franklin Drive
Dispute: A man said he went to a communal laundry room to check on his laundry when another resident confronted him. The resident accused the man of mixing their laundry together. The man said he did not touch anyone’s laundry. The man said the other resident called him a liar and was angry. The man went back to his apartment and said he had no further issues with the resident.

Sept. 9

SUNK COSTS
6:30 p.m. — 4700 block of North Tamiami Trail
​Property damage: The owner of a motel confronted three children swimming in the pool who were not guests at the property. After the children left, the owner discovered that they had damaged the bottom of the pool and thrown two garden statues into the deep end. The owner reviewed surveillance footage that showed the children throwing the statues into the pool.

Oct. 2

LEFT BEHIND
8:52 p.m. — 1000 block of North Tamiami Trail
Financial crime: A store employee said a man approached the customer service desk and asked for change for a $100 bill. The employee tested the bill using a counterfeit pen, which showed the bill was genuine. The employee was still suspicious, so he went to speak to the manager. When the employee returned, the man was gone. The manager showed an officer surveillance footage, which showed the man leaving the store without his money and sprinting back to his vehicle. Officers were unable to immediately locate the man.

Oct. 16

REPEAT OFFENDER?
10 p.m. — 1500 block of North Conrad Avenue
Dispute: A man said another man was driving erratically down his street. The man said he believed it’s someone he had a dispute with in the past. The man said that, while driving home, he missed the turn for his street, so he turned down the next road. That caused the other man to follow him. The man said the other man was driving in reverse for two blocks trying to taunt him. The first man said he drove down another street, so the man would not follow him home. An officer could not locate a car in the area matching the description given for the one the man was driving.

Nov. 1

UNDER PRESSURE
11:41 a.m. — 400 block of North Beneva Road
Dispute: A firefighter said he was in the truck bay at the fire station when a man approached a group of workers and began screaming at them. The firefighter attempted to calm the man down and asked what the issue was. The man said he asked a group of firefighters in the training yard how much pressure their hoses put out and did not get an answer. The man continued to yell, curse and make violent threats toward the firefighters, so the firefighter asked the man to leave the property. An officer made contact with the man inside a nearby store. The man told officers he got upset because the firemen told him to go away when he asked about the hoses.

Nov. 5

WHEELIE DANGEROUS
4:24 p.m. — 3700 block of South Osprey Avenue
Suspicion: A woman reported that a motorcyclist drives through the area every day at the same time and does a wheelie down the street. The woman described the motorcycle as black with neon green and neon pink wheels. The motorcyclist was gone by the time an officer arrived, but the officer pledged to monitor the area during the time the motorcyclist is usually driving through to enforce traffic laws as necessary.

Nov. 20

FOWL PLAY
5:38 p.m. — 1300 block of Tarpon Avenue
Misc. officer: A woman said chicken sounds coming from her neighbor’s property woke her up. An officer contacted the neighbor, who said he brought five roosters and two chickens back from Texas and was planning on relocating them to a farm later in the week. The officer said possessing chickens violates city code and told him to remove the animals.

Nov. 27

HARD TO HANDLE
9:22 a.m. — 1800 block of North Tamiami Trail
Suspicion: A man said he believed someone put dog excrement on his car door. The man said he’d been staying at a hotel for a few days and parking his car in front. The man said he hadn’t been getting along with a couple of other guests, and he believed they put the dog excrement on his vehicle. The man said he saw the guests walking around the property with a cooler the day before, and he believed they were picking up dog excrement and putting it in the cooler. The man did not actually see what the guests had in their hands, and he only assumed it was dog excrement on his car because of the odor. An officer examined the car and did not see anything that resembled dog excrement. However, the officer did smell what he suspected was a different form of waste and saw a puddle directly under the car door. The officer was unable to determine conclusively what happened.

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