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Cops Corner

Officer on patrol finds a man on the ground with his wheelchair on fire

Investigators determine the cause of a victim's wheelchair fire. This and other Sarasota Police Department reports in this week's Cops Corner.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 8, 2023
  • Sarasota
  • Cops Corner
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Friday, Oct. 27

Heart-stopping rent hike

9:11 p.m., 5200 block of Stevens Drive

Civil dispute: Upon arrival, officers made contact with a landlord and tenant; the latter appeared to be intoxicated. The tenant said he was upset that the complainant raised the rent of the home in which he had lived since August 2023. The officer then spoke with the complaint who confirmed he did recently rent a room to the tenant but did not know at the time he had a drinking problem and became aggressive when intoxicated.  

Officers advised the tenant had established residency at the house and if the landord wishes for him to be removed he would have to be legally evicted. While explaining the eviction process, the tenant began complaining of chest pain and requested rescue to respond. Paramedics did state the man had an irregular heart rhythm and was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Officers advised the landlord to have no further contact with the tenant until he is sober. Whether the rent actually was increased was not reported.

Hot wheels

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

Disturbance: 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.

Monday, Oct. 30

A powerful noise

8:22 p.m., 600 block of South Gulfstream Avenue

Noise complaint: A backup generator that had been running for 10 hours resulted in a noise complaint. An officer made contact with the complainant who said the generator was so loud he could hear it over his TV and was unable to sleep. 

The complainant was informed that there was no noise ordinance in place that prevents the use of a generator to power a building when the main power source was out. The officer then made contact with FPL personnel on the scene, who advised they had been working to replace the main power lines all day and that they would be finished and the power restored before 10 p.m. 

The man insisted on further law enforcement action and was reminded that no noise ordinance violation was taking place. Still, he insisted a noise reading be made to present to the city. A second officer responded to the scene with a noise meter. The complainant took a photo of the reading and, satisfied with the result, returned to his home. Before officers left the scene the power was restored and the generator turned off.

Name calling

11:20 p.m., 1500 block of 20th Street

Disturbance: When officers arrived at the scene they met with a “very irate” man who was yelling that his girlfriend “took his clothes and weed” and placed them in her vehicle. He said he had just arrived home from work and that the girlfriend was accusing him of cheating. 

The man then refused to speak further to officers and climbed on the hood of the woman’s vehicle to keep her from leaving. An officer told the woman to stop the vehicle and let the man retrieve his belongings, apparently including his weed.

Prior to leaving the area himself, the irate man was yelling racial slurs toward officers, calling them “crackas." No further action was taken.

Tuesday, Oct. 31

Gone girl

11:52 a.m., 2500 block of South Tamiami Trail

Stolen vehicle: A man told police that his wife took his pickup truck three days prior and hadn’t been heard from since. He explained that on Oct. 28 she left the motel room in which they were staying, adding that she left her phone and most of her belongings but did take some shoes and a small amount of clothes. 

The complainant said his son told him the woman took some of his tools and pawned them, but did not know which pawn shop nor whether that actually occurred. He further advised that his wife may be in possession of his bank cards and that he’s already contacted his bank about the matter.

The man told the officer his wife does not suffer from any mental or physical disabilities and did not make any concerning statements before she left, adding that she is sometimes prone to drug use. No further action was taken at the time.

Gate crasher

8:20 a.m., 2000 block of Main Street

Property damage: A subject described as an elderly woman drove through two parking garage gates, resulting in approximately $2,000 in damages, before being seen on video leaving the area on foot. The building manager told police the woman had run through two retracting gates but did not confront the subject, who was captured on video walking toward the courthouse, at the scene. The complainant added there were additional witnesses to the incident.

The complainant said she did not wish to press charges, but requested law enforcement contact the subject to inform her that the incident was captured on video. When contacted, the subject admitted to the incident, was apologetic and wished to handle the matter through civil means. No charges were pressed at that time.