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Cops Corner

Men told to stop 'jumpscaring' downtown pedestrians

Leaping from the shadows in the darkness of night, two men tell police they were only frightening passersby for fun. This and other Sarasota Police Department reports in this week's Cops Corner.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. April 10, 2024
  • Sarasota
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Thursday, May 28

Knock three times …

12:52 a.m., 1700 block of 29th Street

Property damage: With a window in her front door broken, a woman reported that the perpetrator was her mother, who confessed to the damage, adding that it was not intentional.

A man inside the residence reported he had heard someone hitting the window, and assumed it was the complainant’s mother. For reasons not explained, he did not let her in nor did the incident report advise his relationship to either the mother or daughter, Learning that the woman was at a nearby store, an officer paid her a visit, reporting her to appear to be inebriated. 

The subject advised that she had arrived at the complainant’s home to watch her child but, because she did not have a key, she began tapping on the window with palm of her hand. She said she must have struck the window too hard, causing it to break. 

Because the damage was unintentional, the subject was not charged with criminal mischief. Although she had a small cut on her wrist, she declined medical assistance.

Wednesday, March 27

Might as well jump

10:09 p.m., 1500 block of Main Street

Disturbance: Two men described as transients told an officer they were only having fun while responding to a call from a woman who said she was attacked by the men. According to the incident report, they said they were merely amusing themselves by  “jumpscaring” passersby.

Their method of jumpscaring not described, a jumpscare is a technique used in filming movies intended to shock and frighten viewers in such a way they suddenly jump in fright. The woman said she was not touched by the assailants.

An officer made contact with the pranksters who conceded that they were "playing around and scaring people as a joke,” according to the report. They said they did not think that their actions would result in a law enforcement response and promised to stop and left the area.

Sunday, March 31

Get off my lawn!

1:40 p.m. 1100 block of Florida Avenue

Dispute: A woman called law enforcement after she and a neighbor engaged in a verbal dispute, during which time her child was the recipient of a racial epithet. The complainant said one of her children was outside speaking to a different neighbor, then proceeded to enter another neighbor’s front yard, setting off the kerfuffle. 

The complaint said the subject yelled, "Get your white trash kid off my property!” That begat an exchange of unpleasantries after which the complainant claimed, after she complied with the woman’s demand and walked with her child toward her own house, that she felt threatened as the subject followed her  closely. 

An officer spoke with the subject who capitulated to telling the complainant to extract her child from the yard, but denied following her to her house. Another neighbor confirmed the veracity of the subject’s version of events. Both women were advised to stay away from each other and to avoid further confrontation.

Monday, April 1

Slashed a hole in all four tires

8:05 a.m., 900 block of University Parkway

Property damage: As he slept in his hotel room, a man told police the license plate was stolen from his rental vehicle and all four tires were slashed and flattened. The complainant said the incident occurred sometime between 4 p.m. the day before and 8 a.m. that morning.

A review of video surveillance revealed that at approximately 10:24 p.m., a male subject with a white towel over his head and dark clothing approached the vehicle and removed the plate. The report does not specify whether that same subject punctured the tires. The victim was provided a victim’s rights brochure to present to the rental car company.

Saturday, March 30

Your cheatin’ heart

5:34 a.m., 700 block of Cohen Way

Domestic disturbance: The complainant told an officer she was involved in an argument with her live-in male companion, who objected to her engaging in intimate relations without his knowledge. She said the man became upset and began to “pull the bed apart.” The incident report offered no details of what that action entailed.

The woman reported that the argument was verbal in nature and never became physical. She stated that she wished to have him removed from the apartment, but was advised that because the man had established residency he could not be forced to leave. She said she understood that explanation, adding, “I just want him to leave me alone.”

Speaking with the jilted subject, the officer learned the man discovered the woman had another person, the paramour’s gender not referenced, in their bed. He stated the argument was verbal only and never became physical. Having no ability to leave, he told the officer that he was willing to stay on the couch away from the woman.

Both were advised that they have each established residency in the apartment and neither could be forcibly removed. Each agreed to remain in separate portions of the residence and stated they did not feel unsafe with the other staying. Officers escorted the woman to the bedroom and the man to the living room.


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