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Sarasota Cops Corner: The Best of 2023

Family feuds, getaway drivers on tricycles and a foursome fracas — all that and much more from this year's reports of the Sarasota Police Department.

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Golf-cart rodeo

10:25 a.m. Jan. 4, 3000 block of Ringling Boulevard

An employee of the Sarasota County Fairgrounds reported three male juveniles illegally entered a barn at the rear of the property and caused damage to three golf carts while racing them around the barn. The barn is located in the center lot of the property and is surrounded by a tall chainlink fence. The perpetrators apparently climbed the fence to enter and exit the barn.

Surveillance video shows three male juveniles entering the barn, racing around in the golf carts and smashing through a stack of soda cans. Damage, which included headlights, a flattened tire and a shattered windshield, is estimated at $1,000.

Tray tossing

9:29 a.m. Jan. 13, 300 block of North Beneva Road

A disgruntled customer tossing plastic food trays around a fast food restaurant brought police to the establishment where an officer made contact with the manager who said an unknown man approached the counter to place a food order. The manager said he explained the restaurant was not open for indoor food service at the time, at which point the tray flinging ensued. The manager provided a description of the offender plus the make, model and license plate number of his vehicle. No damage was reported

Lobby posse squabble

5:24 p.m. Jan. 17, 800 block of North Lemon Avenue

Two bickering groups of women in a rental community prompted one resident to call police to complain of being bullied and harassed by another woman who is not a resident. The accused, who does not live in the building but frequently hangs out there with a group of women, told police the complainant has made negative remarks about her husband. The complainant said she has never “talked about her directly” and that she “talks generally,” and "if someone is offended, that is not her problem.''

All parties were advised to contact community management and inform them of the ongoing dispute.

Ménage a quad

12:18 a.m. Jan. 30 2000 block of Adams Lane

Two women who work together at an assisted living facility were arrested for events following a fight that began on social media over a “shared boyfriend” with a third woman. The victim told police she and one of the offenders had been in an “on again, off again” relationship with their shared boyfriend for months. The victim, call her woman No. 1, claims to have messaged the third member of the trio, Woman No. 2, with the intention of coming to an agreement and putting the fighting behind them. 

Woman No. 2 allegedly became upset and felt she was being accused of stealing their shared boyfriend from Woman No. 1. Woman No. 2 stopped replying to messages and then, with a third woman, arrived at the Woman No. 1’s home. The two of them began yelling at her to come outside and fight. After she refused, the perpetrators entered the home and a fight ensued. 

No butts about it 

7:09 p.m. Feb. 11, 2000 block of Sunnyside Place

A nanny ghosting her former employer is accused of taking a smartphone the employer purchased for her and adding her line to the family’s account. An officer heard from the complainant who said she hired the woman, whom she found on social media, to care for her children after moving to Sarasota in November 2022. Mother and nanny became close, the complainant said, and in December the nanny talked her into purchasing the phone, valued at $700, and adding her line to the family’s account.

The complainant further advised she funded a Brazilian butt lift and liposuction procedures, which cost $3,600, as she “felt bad” for the woman because she was less fortunate. The complainant said she now cannot contact the alleged grifter because her phone number and all social media accounts have been blocked. Although a butt lift cannot be repossessed, the complainant wants the phone returned because she is still paying for it. She was advised her complaint is civil in nature and she will have to sue the nanny for return of the phone.

Getaway trike 

12:03 a.m. Feb. 21, 1700 block of Spring Creek Drive

A stolen tricycle was recovered shortly after it was stolen from a residence as a suspect riding a three-wheeler that matched the description was located near the intersection of South Osprey Avenue and Floyd Street. The subject fled from law enforcement on the trike before being apprehended at the 1800 block of Prospect Street.

A search of the suspect’s backpack revealed two bags of marijuana. The search for the trike began when the victim advised he observed an unknown individual enter his property and go into the back yard before taking it from the property. 

Once located, officers attempted to stop the suspect from fleeing, and eventually apprehended him on foot. He was charged with possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana. The victim was provided courtesy transport to the location to retrieve his tricycle.

Transaction fee

8:40 p.m. April 16, Ninth Street at Central Avenue

After hearing varying stories about a dispute between a man and woman over a private transaction of $60, police determined no crime had occurred. When officers arrived, the two parties were separated and statements were given that were not only contradictory, but also changed multiple times throughout the interviews.

When the dust settled, the officers determined that a third party had given the man the $60 to pass on to the woman, who was the complainant in the incident. The varying reasons given for this exchange of money included birthday money for the woman’s daughter, child support and the purchase of narcotics. The man, though, gave the woman only $40, resulting in a heated argument over the remaining $20.

The complainant admitted the argument became slightly physical before they separated and she called the police. After the officer explained to her that the dispute was civil in nature and that no crime was committed, both parties went their separate ways and no further issues were reported.

Phantom fuel

9:04 p.m. April 19, 1500 block of 28th Street

A woman said an argument with her ex-boyfriend over letting her 12-year-old son leave the house unaccompanied led to a threat by the man to burn her house down. When she left the home to look for her son, she said the man picked up an empty gas can and pretended to be pouring gas on the house. He then fled the scene on foot after the woman said she would call police.

The woman said this was not the first time the man has tried to “light her house on fire.” They are not in a dating relationship and do not share any children. The woman gave officers permission to clear the house and they did not find the man inside. There was no evidence of gas poured on the house and the gas can was empty. The woman was advised to call law enforcement if the man returns.

Reckless riders

10:53 p.m. April 21, 1900 block of Morrill Street

A woman confronting reckless two-wheeler riders told police one of them damaged her vehicle. The complainant advised that riders of four electric bicycles or motorcycles were weaving in and out of traffic. When stopped at a traffic signal she rolled down her window and told the four subjects to stop driving recklessly. 

One of the subjects, she said, called her a colorful colloquialism for a female dog while another kicked her driver side mirror, breaking it. All of them then fled westbound on Main Street. She told police that if the subjects were found she wished to press charges.

Night fishing

2 a.m. April 28, Siesta Drive Bridge

An irate man broke off a sign that read “No Fishing on the Bridge” then tossed it into the water, drawing a police response to the Siesta Drive Bridge. The officer met with the complainant who was in the bridge tender. He reported the suspect — described as approximately 5-foot-9, heavy build and wearing no shirt — appeared to be intoxicated and was yelling at vehicles passing by while fishing off the bridge. During the incident, the irate man broke off the sign, pole still attached, and threw it into the bay. 

The complainant said he did not confront the man, but saw him walking in the direction of the 1300 block of Siesta Drive. The officer located the sign and collected photographic evidence. The suspect was not located and the investigation remained open.

A 44-cent refund

1:35 p.m. May 6, 3500 block of South Tamiami Trail

A man was falsely accused of stealing bananas at a grocery store. The accused told the officer he wasn’t upset about being charged 44 cents for the potassium-rich fruit, but he did want an apology from the staff for being accused. The store manager admitted he had no proof of a theft and refunded the accused his 44 cents. No word on whether an apology was given.

Too many paper plates

5:59 a.m. May 21, 1800 block of North Tamiami Trail

A motel guest taking an excessive number of paper plates resulted in a dispute with an employee who called police for assistance. The employee stated the guest took too many paper plates from the complimentary breakfast, and when confronted became irate. 

The employee said she would like the officer to speak to the guest and tell him he must check out at 11 a.m. The guest agreed to leave and no further action was taken.

Walker tug-of-war

5:49 p.m. May 25, 300 block of North Orange Avenue

A complainant told officers via telephone that she witnessed two subjects arguing outside of a business. She reported that a man and a woman were tugging on a walker, both attempting to gain possession of it from the other. The complainant also uploaded a video to police that captured the image of the two tugging on the walker before eventually separating and leaving the area. 

Officers canvassed the surrounding area but were unable to locate either party.

Lost at sea?

6:29 a.m. May 21, 2 Marina Plaza

A woman called police regarding a missing man. She stated she had been staying on a 30-foot sailboat with the man, who had left the day before around noon; she had not seen him or his dinghy since. Approximately an hour before calling police, she said she believed she witnessed a body floating in the water near the shoreline. After contacting SPD, she realized she had witnessed a sandbar and not a body. The man was later located alive and well in the 400 block of South Orange Avenue.

A shot in the dark

8:20 a.m. June 6, 1100 block of Center Place

A dispatcher who heard possible gunshots during a call that abruptly ended sent officers to a location within 39 yards of where the call was triangulated. Officers arrived as a female resident was exiting her driveway. She said she did not call 911 nor did she see or hear anything suspicious. 

Next door, a home was being constructed where a nail gun was actively being used. Workers there said they did not see or hear anything that would have prompted a 911 call. Officers canvassed the surrounding homes resulting in either no answer at the door or that the resident hadn't heard any gunshots or suspicious activity.

Bat vs. gun

9:16 a.m. June 14, near the intersection of North Washington Boulevard and 20th Street

When a baseball bat-wielding truck driver was met with another holding a gun, officers were dispatched to the scene where they spoke to each party separately. The complainant, a semi truck driver, said he was having his trailer unloaded when another trucker pulled into the area, blew his horn and asked the complainant to move so his trailer was not out in the roadway. 

Taking offense to the demand, the complainant approached the second truck with a baseball bat. That driver then brandished a firearm and told the complainant to back away. The two men then separated until police arrived. Officers determined the man showing his weapon, but not pointing it at his would-be assailant, was a reasonable response. The gun owner has a conceal-carry permit with no negative reports. Officers stayed on scene until the complainant’s truck was unloaded and he departed.

Arrest request

8:55 p.m. June 24, 2100 block of Seventh Street

Just wanting to be left alone, a man called police because he wanted his wife “to go to jail for a couple days.” An officer interviewed the complainant's wife who advised that her husband recently had knee surgery and is on medication. She keeps an eye on him, she said, but he gets frustrated and emotional. She stated that her daughter, whom he doesn’t like, is coming to visit her.

Interviewed separately, the complainant said he didn’t want his wife’s daughter in the home. The officer determined the man was attempting to create a problem so he could be alone and avoid his wife and stepdaughter, who arrived while the officer was on the scene.  The man stated that he did not need the police after all and he would be by himself in his room.

Beach blanket bickering

4:41 p.m. July 1 200 block of Benjamin Franklin Drive

A responding officer met with a woman at a Lido Beach hotel who was intoxicated and crying. She advised that she was on the beach with her husband, his brother and his brother’s wife. All had been drinking alcohol, and at some point an incident from 10 years prior was brought up, which led to a verbal altercation. 

The parties had returned to the hotel lobby where the argument continued. The woman went to her room and her husband, having been locked out of the room, went to the pool.

Paid the price

8:02 a.m. July 13, 4000 block of North Tamiami Trail

An apparent dating app rendezvous resulted in a smashed windshield by a jealous boyfriend. The complainant told an officer he had picked up another man for a date after meeting on the app. When they later left a hotel, the complainant’s date was receiving constant phone calls from his boyfriend, so the complainant dropped him off at his residence, which is when a third man ran out and smashed the complainant’s windshield. 

The complainant had his windshield replaced at a cost of $342.38 and wanted it paid for in lieu of prosecution. The officer went to where the date was staying and learned he would pay for the damage, and no further action was taken. 

Hallway hijinks

10:32 a.m. July 21, 1000 block of Ritz Carlton Drive

A resident told an officer that on the previous day two unknown females he suspected were in their late teens rang the doorbell to his residence and ran. The doorbell video recording shows the females giggling and twerking for the camera. One of them eventually rang the doorbell then both ran toward the exit stairwell.

The man acknowledged that they did not appear to have any ill intent, but was concerned that if two young females are able to evade security and reach his residence on the 16th floor, then anyone can. He requested a case report be made so that the building has documentation of the incident and that additional security precautions should be taken. Building staff advised they do not believe the ring-and-runners are either residents or guests.

FaceTime fracas

12:49 a.m. July 31, 700 block of Benjamin Franklin Drive

Visitors from Massachusetts were involved in an argument that brought law enforcement to a beachside resort in the early morning hours. An officer met with a woman who said she was engaged in a verbal dispute with her fiancé and her mother via FaceTime. 

An officer arrived on scene and heard the woman screaming. She stated there was no physical altercation, she was not injured and that no crime had occurred. It was suggested they quiet down for the night and that the resort could order them to leave if their disruptive actions occurred.

Not just a threat

12:12 a.m. Aug. 12, 200 block of North Shade Avenue

The complainant told police his uncle damaged his truck after threatening by text to do so. He said he was in his hotel room with his girlfriend when his uncle texted him and — employing colorful metaphors — threatened to damage the vehicle. This followed an argument over the uncle accusing him of “stealing weed from him,” according to the police report.

The complainant said there was a witness who had claimed to have seen the incident occur, but officers were unable to contact that individual. They also canvassed the area for video surveillance, finding none. An officer advised the complainant to obtain an estimate to repair the damage and to contact him with the information. 

Open carry of a phone

2:47 p.m. Aug. 20, North Tamiami Trail near Myrtle Street

An anonymous complainant said he observed a man wearing a red shirt and blue shorts run across North Tamiami Trail from Myrtle Street from a drug store, possibly carrying a revolver. Officers canvassed the area and located a man fitting the description. He advised that he did run from the store across the road because he doesn’t trust traffic. He allowed officers to search him and no gun was found. He was carrying a phone with a silver portable charger, which possibly was confused with a gun.

Laundry loiterer

2:05 p.m. Aug. 21, 200 block of North Lime Avenue

Police responded to a laundromat regarding a dispute, and upon arrival contacted a man who alleged the owner of the business was calling him derogatory names and that he spit on him. The owner said the man was not doing laundry and that he was told to leave. At that, he said the loiterer got up and starting addressing him with derogatory metaphors that included racial slurs and engaging in inappropriate activities with one’s mother.

The argument then moved outside of the business where the owner admitted to shouting expletives multiple times and, if there was spitting, it was only a result of shouting in close proximity. Video footage showed no evidence of saliva projecting from the owner’s mouth nor did the complainant wipe his face.

Swing and a miss

8:53 p.m. Oct. 12, 3200 block of Fruitville Road

An argument between two female employees in a senior living facility nearly escalated into a physical altercation. The complainant said a fellow worker closed the distance between the two and swung her arm in a punching motion, hitting nothing but air. Out of fear, she then locked herself in an office as the would-be assailant allegedly followed and pounded on the door.

The subject advised it was the complainant who instigated the dispute, by making comments such as, “You'll never be as blonde as me.” The subject confirmed she did knock on the locked door “a few times” and added she’s been dealing with several health concerns that have caused her to have occasional emotional outbursts. 

The officer advised the subject to de-escalate such future situations, to which she agreed and said she was “going to work on this to avoid multiple law enforcement contacts.”

You don’t spit into the wind

7:17 p.m. Oct. 16, 1800 block of 23rd Street

Officers were flagged down for a report of a dispute between adolescents. An investigation revealed there were multiple adults and children in the area of the dispute, in which the primary complainant said her 15-year-old daughter was spit on by an 18-year-old female. She said she did not witness the incident, and when officers attempted to get a statement from the alleged victim she became uncooperative and kept walking away.

Officers did not observe “any markings on her clothing consistent with being spit on,” per the police report.

The spitting incident is alleged to have occurred while some younger juveniles were playing football and arguing. The complainant said it was very windy and the spit “went everywhere.” 

When officers attempted to make contact with the alleged perpetrator at her home, her mother said the two girls do not like each other and have had several issues at school. The subject denied spitting on her rival, but was otherwise uncooperative. 

Because the alleged victim was uncooperative, officers were unable to determine if the spitting incident actually occurred. Both parents agreed to keep their daughters inside their homes for the night.

Hot wheels

8:04 p.m. Oct. 27, 2200 block of Benjamin Franklin Drive

While on patrol on Lido Key, an officer observed a man lying on the ground next to his wheelchair, which was on fire. The man was intoxicated. It was determined that the fire was caused by the man’s laptop battery igniting. The Sarasota County Fire Department was called to extinguish the fire, and the man was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

A hairy situation

8:55 a.m. Nov. 2, 1200 block of North Palm Avenue

The owner of a salon called law enforcement regarding a married couple who frequent his establishment for services causing a dispute over allegations of a relationship between the complainant and the customer’s wife. 

An officer was told by the husband that the salon owner called his wife late in the evening and that he believes they are involved in a relationship, but he does not have any proof.

The officer advised the couple to seek another salon for their hair service needs and also suggested they seek couples counseling, to which they agreed. The officer also advised the business owner to no longer provide services to the woman and to not interact with the couple.


8 p.m. Nov. 5, 1500 block of 24th Street

A dispute between neighbors resulted in an object being thrown by a juvenile and denting a man’s car. Four officers responded to the call as they tried to sort out the source of the dispute. The complainant said he witnessed one of the juveniles throwing a stick at his car, resulting in a 3-inch dent.

Officers met with the child’s mother, who said her 6-year-old son told her that the complainant had pushed him down in the shared parking lot, and he avenged the alleged shove by throwing the object at the vehicle. 

They then interviewed a 15-year-old witness who said the stick thrower had been following the man in the parking lot “talking smack” when the man turned and used a single hand to shove the child to the ground. There were no injuries observed on the child. 

The man denied pushing the boy, claiming that he was following him so closely that when he turned around the boy fell because of incidental contact. The man said he did not want any enforcement action taken regarding the damage to the vehicle, only that he wanted the harassment to end. The boy’s mother also did not request enforcement action regarding the shoving allegation, only that she wanted the man to leave her children alone.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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