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Cops Corner

Man receives threatening texts from alleged cartel henchmen

A man reported to police that his new cellphone number may be linked to threats of violence to its prior owner. This and other Sarasota Police Department reports in this week's Cops Corner.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. April 17, 2024
  • Sarasota
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Thursday, April 4

Paving paradise

1100 block of Tahiti Parkway

Civil dispute: A contractor was starting to pave a semicircular driveway when the neighbor next door called law enforcement to report the work was encroaching on her property. The complainant reported that the driveway extends into her lot. Whether that was an issue prior to the paving was not indicated in the incident report. 

The officer spoke with city code enforcement personnel, who advised that no permits had been pulled by either the contractor or the driveway owner. A complaint for non-permitted work was filed and a code enforcement staff member will be in contact with the subject.

The paving company was on the scene but stopped work and began to clean the area and leave for the day. A case number was provided to both parties and the complainant proceeded to park her vehicle on the portion of the driveway that lies on her property.

The drink’s on her

11:32 p.m., 300 block of John Ringling Boulevard

Disturbance: Disrupting the late-night serenity of St. Armands Circle, a dispute between female subjects — two of the three sharing the same last name — resulted in a drink thrown at one of them by the third female, who was no longer on the scene. 

An officer reported that the target of the lobbed libation appeared to be intoxicated, perhaps offering some measure of clarity to the beverage brouhaha.

Regardless of fault, the two females were advised that they were being issued a trespassing warning by the management of the business.

Wrong number text threats

Stalking/harassment: Having received multiple text messages, a man contacted law enforcement to investigate the source. The man said he had received multiple messages from two unknown numbers in what appears to be extortion over alleged transactions with “escorts” on unknown dates. Other messages advised that blocking the number or reporting the threats to police will result in gruesome consequences, sending graphic images of others who allegedly suffered a similar fate for noncompliance.

In one of the messages, the perpetrators identified themselves as involved with the “Sinaloa cartel,” once a powerful and violent cartel formerly led by the infamous “El Chapo.”

While officers were on the scene, the victim received another text, to which he responded “wrong number.” That was followed by another that read he’d better call if he doesn’t “want trouble.”

The complainant advised that he has had the phone number since he moved to Sarasota in November 2023, and that perhaps the targeted victim previously owned that number. He said he has no idea who is contacting him, why he is being threatened and that he has had no experience with escorts. He eventually blocked the numbers and asked that the incident be documented.

Sunday, April 7

Noisy neighbors

11:23 p.m., 2200 block of North Lemon Avenue

Noise complaint: A woman who was knocking on the ceiling of her apartment because of noise upstairs brought a visit to her own door when the overhead tenant called law enforcement. The complainant said she has an ongoing issue with her downstairs neighbor, stating that she bangs on the ceiling when the pitter-patter of her young children’s feet is heard below.

On this night, though, she said the children were already asleep when the banging from below began. 

The complainant advised she sometimes responds by pounding on the floor. 

Officers attempted to contact the first-floor neighbor, but she did not answer the door. The complainant advised that the neighbor never answers the door for officers when she calls. The officer told the complainant the incident would be documented.

Monday, April 8

Parking lot rage

10:24 p.m., 1300 block of Main Street

Criminal mischief: Regarding an incident that occurred three nights prior on April 5, an officer was dispatched to a call about damage to a woman’s vehicle. The complainant said that she had parked behind a business while downtown for a Fresh Friday event, returning to find the gas cap open, the car covered in beer and both windshield wipers bent.

Upon viewing security footage captured by a nearby camera, it shows a male driving a large black truck that appeared to be blocked by the complainant’s vehicle causing the damage. The license plate was visible and the vehicle’s owner was identified. 

Contact was made with the subject who said he was frustrated by the situation, responded angrily and that he would be willing to cover the cost of damages. The complainant was advised of the subject’s cooperation and did not wish to press charges.

Tuesday, April 9

Unhappy reunion

11:25 p.m., 1000 block of University Parkway

Family dispute: What began as an evening of reconnecting for an estranged couple took an acrimonious turn when a verbal altercation began as the couple returned to their hotel room after an evening on the town. The woman said her husband, who was no longer on the scene, began to hurl explicit insults at her while traveling back to the hotel after visiting several restaurants, including accusations of intimate liaisons with other men. She said her husband had rented the room and invited her to spend time with him.

During the argument, the woman said she became fearful and began recording the incident on her cellphone. That’s when she said her husband grabbed the phone and, while storming out of the room, threw it in her direction but it didn't strike her.

She advised they had been married for approximately five years and are currently separated. She said she recently filed for a child custody order against her husband, but it had not yet been served. Still, she agreed to the rendezvous when invited. 

The woman was given a case number and said she would contact her attorney for further advice. The officer stood by while she gathered her belongings and left to go home after declining an offer to be taken to Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center.


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