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Longboat Key Monday, May 7, 2018 2 years ago

Sarasota shooting suspect's donation to Longboat police paid for cameras, laptops

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Ryan Flanzer, who allegedly fired three rounds into an empty condominium Saturday, had donated more than $200,000 to the Longboat Key Police Department in February
by: Bret Hauff and David Conway | Observer Staff

Longboat Key Police Department has spent the more than $200,000 donated by a man arrested this weekend by Sarasota Police Department.

Ryan Flanzer, 25, was arrested Saturday evening on a charge of firing three rounds from a pistol into an empty downtown Sarasota condominium. No injuries were reported. Flanzer has been charged with firing a weapon into a dwelling and has been released on $7,500 bond, according to police records.

Ryan Flanzer

Earlier this year, Flanzer donated $234,216.35 to the Longboat Key Police Department, money the department has spent on new traffic monitoring cameras and laptop computers for its cruisers.

The department, as a thank you for the gift, promised Flanzer that a plaque with his name would be installed on the facade of the police department building. That plaque has been ordered and is planned to be installed, said Police Chief Pete Cumming.

“This thing has an ugly flavor,” Cumming said. “This kid did something that the town and all of our citizens are going to benefit from, long before any inappropriate behavior was demonstrated by him.”

Flanzer called the police department last summer and asked to meet with the police chief about a possible donation, Cumming said. When Flanzer arrived with his check book, Cumming said he told the New York native to slow down.

The police department waited months to vet Flanzer as they would a candidate for employment before accepting a donation, Cumming said.

“There was never any indication that his character was immature or that he had any of these predispositions,” Cumming said.

Police said a man, who they identified as Flanzer, identified himself as a process server, entered a residential building at 1350 Main Street wearing a tactical vest and badge. He fired three shots into the door of an empty third floor condominium, according to Sarasota Police Department.

A camera captured a man matching Flancer's description leaving 1350 Main Street armed with what looks to be a pistol.

The man left the scene in a dark-colored SUV and had been considered armed and dangerous for hours Saturday afternoon. Flanzer locked himself in a room at the Westin hotel until 8:16 p.m., when the Sarasota Crisis Negotiation unit brokered Flanzer’s surrender.

“I would hope that he handles himself better than that and moves on ahead with a more productive and lawful life,” Cumming said.

Flanzer earlier this year filed a contracts and indebtedness lawsuit against Seth A. Bloom and Czar Ventures LLC to recover an investment of $300,000. Cumming said the Flanzer's alleged actions may have been sparked by monetary fraud involving Bloom.  

Flanzer is the grandson of Gloria and Louis Flanzer, both of whom were dedicated philanthropists to the Sarasota community and residents of Longboat Key and Scarsdale, NY. They gave time and donations to causes including Sarasota Memorial Hospital and the Jewish Family & Children's Services. Gloria Flanzer died in 2016; Louis Flanzer died in 2013.

I’m a Longboat Key Staff Reporter. I write stories about how decisions and events affect the island, its leaders and its citizens. I received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I wrote for The Boston Globe. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 333.

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