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Longboat Key Cops Corner: The Best of 2023

Dogs on the beach, snakes indoors, tracking devices and an engagement announcement — these are just some of the calls that Longboat Police responded to in 2023.

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From dogs on the beach, to snakes in closets and wandering visitors, police officers handle a variety of tasks that may go unnoticed in other places. But not on Longboat Key. 

Every week, Cops Corner compiles the police reports that make the now officially accredited Longboat Key Police Department stand out from the rest. 

While some reports are guaranteed to make you chuckle, they also demonstrate the lengths Longboat Key’s officers will go to serve Longboat’s residents. 

Here are some of 2023’s best reports. 

People helping people

Unlocked and loaded

3:45 p.m., Jan. 12, 4900 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive

Citizen Assist: A family member of a recently deceased man called police after discovering a loaded firearm in a dresser drawer. With no knowledge of how to render it safe, she sought assistance from police. An officer arrived and unloaded the weapon.

Worthy of celebration

1:07 p.m., March 11, Broadway Street Pier 

Citizen Assist: While on marine patrol, the officer was flagged down by a man and a woman. The man told the officer he had just proposed and she said yes. The officer helped the couple celebrate by announcing their engagement over his PA system.

Disabling 'tracking device' 

8:54 p.m., April 6, Longboat Key Police Department 

Citizen Assist: A resident was at the police department and said she was in need of assistance putting her phones in airplane mode so that they would not be tracked. The officer helped the woman put both phones in airplane mode.

Potty problems 

5:54 p.m., Aug. 6, 4000 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Citizen Assist: An officer responded to help someone locked inside the bathroom at Bayfront Park. On arrival, the officer was able to open the door and free the person. 

Cause for concern 

9:27 p.m., Aug. 27, 3500 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Welfare Check: Police were asked to conduct a welfare check for a caller’s elderly relative who was not answering the phone. When the police arrived, there was no answer at the door. Minutes later, the woman came out of the nearby elevator. She said she wasn’t able to answer the phone because she was walking her dog.

Out of juice 

1:30 p.m., Oct. 24, 3700 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Citizen Assist: While on patrol, an officer noticed an elderly man on a mobile scooter. The officer talked with the man, who said he ran out of battery power on his mobile scooter. Another officer came to assist in pushing the man and his scooter home. 

Lost at lunch

1:44 p.m., Nov. 24, 5300 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Citizen Assist: Dispatch sent a Longboat Key officer to assist a woman who was unable to find her husband. She said she had dropped off her husband at the front door of a restaurant and then went to park the vehicle. When she entered the restaurant, she did not see her husband. The responding officer was able to find the husband having lunch at a different restaurant nearby. The wife was escorted to the restaurant and to the table with her husband.

Grand theft golf cart

11:30 p.m., Nov. 25, 2000 block of Harbourside Drive

Citizen Assist: Officers met a security guard in regards to a stolen golf cart. The security guard said his golf cart was stolen some time between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Multiple officers canvassed the area and recovered the golf cart in a parking space. The keys were left in the ignition, and no damage was observed. The security guard was then reunited with his cart.

People power

10:05 a.m., Nov. 6, 3700 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Citizen Assist: While on patrol, an officer saw an elderly man on a mobility scooter who was not moving. Two officers talked with the man, who said his battery died and he was unable to make it home. The officers pushed the man and his scooter back to his residence safely.

Animal control

Shoo, snake

1:43 p.m., Jan. 29, 500 block of Bayview Drive 

Animal Complaint: An officer was sent to a residence after the caller said a black snake was behind the sofa. The officer and homeowner worked together using two brooms to guide the snake back outside.

Mammal out of water

4:49 p.m., Feb. 10, 6500 block of Gulfside Drive 

Animal Complaint: Officers were alerted about a beached dolphin. Once they arrived at the scene, they found multiple people working to keep the dolphin wet. Mote Marine Aquarium was contacted, and once they arrived, they began treating the dolphin. Officers helped Mote employees carry the dolphin to their van. 

Bird in need

9:56 a.m., May 19, 600 block of Roundtree 

Animal Complaint: An officer was dispatched for a report of a bird hanging from a tree upside down. While on the scene, the bird fell to the ground. The officer transported it to Save Our Seabirds. 

Just a little snake

9:09 p.m., May 25, 500 block of Putter Lane

Animal Complaint: Police responded to a call about a snake in the property’s enclosed patio. A small orange and brown snake was located in the corner of the patio and the officer relocated it outside the enclosure. 


1:45 p.m., July 20, 3100 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Animal Complaint: While driving on Gulf of Mexico Drive, an officer witnessed a white bird fly in front of an SUV. The SUV was unable to stop in time and struck the bird. Due to wing injuries, the bird was unable to fly away. Police contacted Save Our Seabirds, which sent a rescuer to pick up the bird. 

Protect (the turtles) and serve (the crabs) 

9:20 p.m., Aug. 10, 3800 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Suspicious Person: Police received reports of someone with white lights on the beach. An officer was able to locate a group of people in the water with nets, one of whom had a bright headlamp on. The individual said he was unaware of the turtle protection laws, and was harvesting crabs on the beach. A citation was issued.

Can’t play nice 

10:01 a.m., Oct. 22, 4000 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Citizen Dispute: A civil dispute call at Bayfront Park promoted Longboat Key police response. At the scene, a sergeant spoke with the complainant. The complainant said another woman with two dogs approached her and started cursing at her for having small dogs in the same area with two big dogs. The area was indeed marked for big dogs. The officer separated the two and spoke with the yeller, who refused to give her information. It was determined no crime took place, just a verbal dispute.

Dogs unleashed

9:46 a.m., Nov. 21, 5500 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Animal Complaint: An animal complaint call sent officers to investigate. When police arrived on scene, the responding officer was flagged down by a woman. She said there were two dogs unleashed in the park and that she was in fear for her life, and unable to use the park. The officer asked for the woman’s driver’s license and information to be listed in a code violation complaint, but she refused and wanted to remain anonymous. A search of the park yielded no found dogs. 

Snake in the closet

8:20 p.m., June 10, 3400 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Animal Complaint: Police were called to a resident’s home. The resident reported a snake in the closet. Sarasota Animal Services arrived on scene with Longboat Police to confront the 3-foot corn snake. They removed the snake from the home and released it. 

Characters on the Key

Sleepy time

11:20 p.m., Jan. 3, 100 block of Broadway Street

Suspicious Vehicle: An officer spotted a parked car in a lot with a sleeping man behind the wheel. The man told the officer he was taking a break and fell asleep. The officer explained he could not stay there because the lot closed to the public 20 minutes earlier. The man then left.

Unwelcome surprise 

11:13 p.m., April 14, 500 block of Outrigger Lane

Citizen Assist: An officer was dispatched back to police headquarters for a walk-in complaint. The individual said he had a female staying at his residence and he himself had been a resident for nine months. He recently found out the female was married and wanted her removed from his residence. The officer informed the man he would have to pursue civil action to evict her and directed him to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. 

Asleep at the wheel

3:12 a.m., May 28, 4000 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Suspicious Vehicle: While patrolling the area, an officer noticed a suspicious vehicle parked at Bayfront Park with its windows open, and it appeared to be occupied. The officer found the driver sleeping in the vehicle. A citation was issued. 

Almost nude

4:05 p.m., June 14, 500 block of Bay Isles Road

Suspicious Incident: Police were alerted to a nude man pouring water over his head outside a parked semi-truck. No obscene acts or gestures were reported by the complainant. When police arrived on scene, the man was sitting in his truck. He later admitted to pouring water over his head while shirtless, but said he was wearing boxer shorts.

Cycle of frustration

8:09 p.m., July 6, 2800 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Suspicious Person: A caller said a suspicious man was seen yelling at the beach, prompting police to respond. On scene, police identified the suspicious person. He said he had fallen off his bike, was frustrated, and yelled towards the water, but not at anybody specifically. He did not exhibit any other concerning behavior, so police left the scene. 

Garbage pickup

7:08 a.m., July 26, 5000 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Trespassing: Longboat Police were dispatched to respond to a suspicious person described as a female in her 30s with a cart. They were advised she was rummaging through a construction dumpster. Responding officers made contact with the complainant, who said he had confronted the woman. The woman began yelling at the complainant before taking a can of spray paint out of the garbage. She then got on her bicycle with a cart that appeared to be made of PVC pipe, and was not seen again. Officers were unable to locate her. 

Late-night strollers

2:50 a.m., Oct. 7, 600 block of Broadway Street

Suspicious Person: While on patrol, an officer saw two women walking down the street with a stroller. In it was a cat. The officer talked to the two women, who said they were walking to their friend’s boat nearby. Both were willing to give their names and dates of birth so the officer could run a search, which came up negative for wants and warrants. The officer followed the group to the nearby dock where their friend was waiting to take them to his boat via kayak.

No receipt, no return

5:04 p.m., Dec. 5, 500 block of Bay Isles Parkway

Trespassing: An officer responded to a civil disturbance call at a grocery store. At the scene, the officer met with an employee who said a woman was trying to return batteries without a receipt. The woman allegedly began yelling and cursing at the employees. The officer talked with the customer outside the store and issued her a trespass warning for one year. She said she will never come back to the area after the incident. 

Something suspicious

Picture ID

11:42 a.m., Sept. 20, 200 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Citizen Assist: An officer was dispatched to respond to two individuals who said they came across a set of bones that looked like a spine. The responding officer walked with the concerned callers to where they saw the bones in Quick Point Nature Preserve. After finding the bones, the officer called the Sarasota Medical Examiner, who advised the officer to send a picture of the bones. The examiner over the phone determined the bones were not human remains.

Just saying 'hi'

1:22 p.m., Nov. 10, 4900 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Boat-Miscellaneous: Marine patrol officers were sent to investigate a vessel possibly in distress offshore. Upon arrival, the officers spoke with the vessel’s owner, who said he was just waving to friends on the beach, not waving to signal distress.

Burning the midnight oil 

7:36 a.m., Oct. 18, 2300 block of Harbourside Drive 

Suspicious Vehicle: Dispatch sent LBKPD officers to a reported suspicious vehicle that had been left running in a residential driveway since the previous night. At the residence, the officer met with the owner of the vehicle and advised that the car was running. He said he came home late the night before and had items to carry into the house. While he had intended to turn off the vehicle, he forgot. He apologized for any inconvenience.

News of the night  

3:32 a.m., Oct. 19, 500 block of Bay Isles Parkway

Suspicious Vehicle: While on routine patrol, an officer noticed a vehicle parked outside of a building that had long been closed for the day. As the officer pulled behind the vehicle, it started to quickly drive away. The officer switched on the patrol car’s emergency lights and stopped the vehicle. When the officer approached the driver, he said he was delivering newspapers to the location. Newspapers were observed in plain view in the back of the van.

Late-night lifting 

11:54 p.m., Oct. 4, 6800 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Suspicious Person: On patrol, an officer noticed a man sitting on a bench outside of a business. The officer approached the man, who said he was on vacation and walked to the local gym. But gym access didn’t start until midnight, and he couldn’t yet get in. He was just sitting on the bench waiting to get in. 

Something smelly 

1:41 p.m., Dec. 7, 600 block of Linley Street

Citizen Assist: A resident asked for police assistance investigating a “strong foul odor” coming from a neighbor’s backyard. When the officer walked into the caller’s backyard, he smelled the strong odor and determined it may be a health hazard. The officer then spoke with the neighbor, who said the smell was a compost bin. He was unaware of the smell, and said he would move it away from the adjacent fence. 

Friendly feuds

'Fine, I’ll just walk'

9:51 p.m., March 25, 3700 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Suspicious Vehicle: While on patrol, the officer noticed a vehicle driving 10 mph in a 45 mph zone. When stopped, the driver told him her boyfriend had gotten out of the car and told her he was going to walk home. She said there had been no physical altercation. The boyfriend eventually returned to the car and the couple left the area. 

So long, friend

5:57 p.m., Sept. 17, 600 block of Spanish Drive South 

Welfare Check: Longboat Key Police Department was asked by a caller to conduct a welfare check on the caller’s friend, who she had not heard from. When the police arrived at the friend's house, she told the officer that her friendship with the caller was over and she wished to never speak to her again. The responding officer then had to break the news to the caller. 

Drunk and disorderly  

11:14 p.m., Sept. 29, 7100 block of Joy Street 

Citizen Dispute: A report of a citizen dispute prompted Longboat Key police to respond. On the scene, an officer found two men in the driveway of a residence. One of the men was said to be intoxicated and sitting in his vehicle, while the other was urging him not to drive. Eventually, the keys were handed over, and both men parted ways. 

Family feud

2:22 p.m., Nov. 19, 3700 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive 

Citizen Assist: A citizen called in a parking complaint, prompting police response. The responding officer made contact with the caller, who said his daughter parked her pickup truck too close to his vehicle in the parking lot. The officer investigated the parking problem, and saw that the truck was parked legally, and the daughter was not home. In the end, the caller said he would have his neighbor move from the spot behind him so that he could get out. 



Carter Weinhofer

Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.

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