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An arrest means only that a law enforcement officer attests there is probable cause to reasonably believe that a crime has been committed. An arrestee is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Week of April 21, 2014 - April 27, 2014

~ Thursday's Local/State News ~

Man Charged with Child Abuse;
Accused of Head-Butting
6-Year-Old Girl

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Ian D. Rivas, 29, of 955 53rd Street East, in Bradenton.

Ian Rivas

The arrest warrant affidavit said on March 14th, the Bradenton Police Department responded to an undisclosed location for a child abuse investigation.

The Florida Abuse Hotline had received a call regarding "K.A.," age 6, making statements about being struck on the head by Rivas. K.A. had informed a school teacher, a school nurse and a Child Protective Services investigator that Rivas had picked her up and head butted her.

A BPD investigator made contact with Rivas, who denied ever head butting K.A. at any time. Rivas said he had spanked K.A. the previous evening for not eating her dinner as well as dumping it out.

The residence was found to be extremely dirty. there were at least four full bags of garbage piled up in the kitchen. Additionally, it was noted that dirty dishes were overflowing onto the counters and covering the stove. There was also old food stuck to the dining room table.

At that time, the decision was made to remove K.A. and her siblings from the residence and a medical examination of K.A. was ordered.

The medical examination noted a one centimeter bruise in the center of K.A.'s forehead. Additionally, the injury was determined to be consistent with abuse and with K.A.'s account of what took place. It was noted that other bruises on K.A.'s person could also be possibly the result of abuse.

On April 15th, the warrant was served on Rivas and he was charged with Child Abuse.

He later posted a bail bond of $15,000 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

BPD Traffic Stop Nets
Ellenton Teenager with
1/4 Pound of Marijuana

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- The Bradenton Police Department has arrested Lazandious Marshall Randall, 18, of the 5600 block of 36th Court East, in Ellenton.

Lazandious Randall

According to the arrest report, on Monday, April 21st, at about 11:30 p.m., BPD Sgt. Seymour conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that had a headlight out.

Sgt. Seymour then made contact with the driver, who hesitated on opening his driver window and providing his information to the sergeant.

The driver finally rolled the window down halfway and in doing so, Sgt. Seymour immediately smelled unburned marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. The driver and the passenger, Randall, were then asked to exit the vehicle.

Randall was then searched by Sgt. Seymour and on his person were located a full bag of marijuana in Randall's front hoodie pocket and another bag full of marijuana in Randall's underwear in front.

The vehicle was then searched and another full bag of marijuana was located on the passenger side floor board.

All three bags tested positive for marijuana and weighed 116.7 grams (4.1 pounds, or 1/4 pound).

Post-Miranda, Randall admitted that the marijuana was his and was for personal use.

He later posted a bail bond of $1,500 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

The driver of the vehicle, who was not identified, was not charged.

Woman Arrested for Battery
on Person Over 65

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Nicole Laine Baker, 29, of 6275 Jim Davis Road, in Parrish.

Nicole Baker

The arrest report said Baker and the unnamed 67-year-old male victim have been living in the same household as a family for the past year. Baker is the man's caregiver, the report said.

On Monday, April 21st, at about 8:30 p.m., Baker and the victim began to have a verbal argument over a diamond ring.

The verbal argument led to a physical altercation.

The victim told Baker that he wanted the diamond ring back.

Baker then intentionally jumped on top of the victim who was lying on his bed. Baker shouted to the victim that she is not giving the ring back.

Baker then grabbed the victim's wrist. The victim was wearing a watch on his left wrist at the time. she applied a strong amount of pressure to the victim's left wrist, causing the watch to dig into his skin. This caused a laceration to his left wrist/forearm area. The laceration was bleeding at the time and was about an inch to two inches in length.

The victim also had several bruises on both of his forearms and chest area. All the bruises were purple and dark in color.

Baker was arrested and charged with Battery on a Person Over 65.

She remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $2,500.

Woman Arrested for

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Brittney Fred, 28, of the 1000 block of 50th Avenue West, Bradenton.

Brittney Fred

The arrest report said on Friday, April 18th, an undercover detective attached to the Special Investigations Division Tactical Unit was patrolling the streets of Manatee County, posing as a "John" in an attempt to arrest prostitutes.

At about 11:30 p.m., he came across Brittney standing in the middle of the road at 3600 14th Street West.

He made contact and after a brief conversation, Brittney agreed to let the U/C detective perform sexual intercourse on her for $60.

She was arrested and charged with misdemeanor Prostitution.

She later posted a $120 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Woman Found Near
Railroad Tracks ID'd;
Autopsy: She Fell

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The body of a woman discovered Tuesday afternoon has been identified as Carolyn West, 62, of Palmetto.

As NewsManatee originally reported on Tuesday as Breaking News, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported a woman's body was found on Tuesday, April 22nd, near some railroad tracks, in Palmetto.

A press release from Dave Bristow, spokesman for the sheriff's office, said at approximately 5:30 Tuesday afternoon, deputies responded to a body in the area of 5800 U.S. 41 N., Palmetto.

The body was discovered by two subjects who were walking in the area. The body was beneath an overpass of railroad tracks.

At this time, it's unknown as to what happened to the victim and if foul play was involved in her death.

An autopsy was performed on Wednesday to determine the cause and manner of death.

Preliminary results indicate the victim suffered injuries consistent with a fall. At this time, foul play is not suspected.

Bradenton Man Charged in
Connection with Locker Thefts

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has charged a Bradenton man in connection with multiple locker thefts at two Crunch Fitness locations.

Jared Mustrat

On April 7th, a man's wallet was stolen from a locker at the Bee Ridge Road gym.

The victim's debit card and credit card were used at several locations to purchase more than $1,800 worth of gift cards.

Detectives issued a law enforcement bulletin and a Manatee County detective identified the suspect as Jared Mustrat, 27, of 10407 Winding Stream Way, Bradenton, who is suspected in a similar crime at Crunch Fitness there.

On Monday, two more locker thefts were reported at the Bee Ridge Road gym. One victim had credit cards and $300 cash stolen, and the second victim found nearly $1,500 in fraudulent charges when he checked his online credit card statement.

Deputies located Mustrat on Tuesday, April 22nd, and booked him into in the Manatee County Jail.

At this time he is facing one count of Scheme to Defraud, one count of Grand Theft and two counts of Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card for the Sarasota County crimes.

Additional Manatee County charges are pending as the investigation continues.

At this time, Mustrat remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $7,620.

17-Year-Old Charged
with Armed Robbery

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes detectives have charged a Port Charlotte teen with armed robbery after an incident that occurred at a local bank drive-thru Tuesday evening, April 22nd.

According to reports, a woman pulled into the drive-thru area of the Bank of America located at 24051 Veterans Blvd in Port Charlotte shortly after 8:30 pm Tuesday to make a deposit. The woman had her seven-year-old son in the car with her.

While the victim was in the process of depositing the checks, a male dressed in all black clothing and carrying a handgun came up from the back of her car and approached the driver’s side window. The suspect demanded money, so the victim pressed the button to conduct another transaction. She withdrew cash from the ATM which the suspect grabbed as soon as it was dispensed. The suspect fled on foot and the woman sped away to report the incident.

While deputies were meeting with the victim at a nearby location, other deputies went to the area of Bank of America. The Sheriff’s Office’s Aviation Unit and members of the K9 Unit also responded. The Aviation Unit used its Forward Looking Infra-Red unit (FLIR) to locate a ‘hot spot’ in a wooded area near the bank. They directed the K9 units to that location and the K9 Units took the suspect, who was dressed as the victim described, into custody.

After further investigation, detectives arrested Shamar Dameon Blair, 17, of 23098 Nugent Avenue in Port Charlotte, on the charge Robbery with a Firearm or Weapon. He was booked into the Charlotte County Jail and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Cops Searching for Sex
Offender Who Had Sex
with Minor Girl

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- Daytona Beach police are asking for help finding a sex offender accused of having sex with a teen girl after lying to her about his age.

According to police, Jimmy Pinckney, 42, a Black male, had sex with the girl at her home after they met at the Dickerson Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Daytona Beach.

The girl's mother reported to police that when she came home from work, she saw Pinckney running out the back door.

The girl, between the ages of 12 and 16, said Pinckney told her he was 18.

Pinckney was found guilty of sexual battery in 1990.

Anyone with information is urged to call Daytona Beach police, WKMG said.


~ Wednesday's Local/State News ~

Palmetto Police Arrest Man
Who Threatened to Kill
Two Women

PALMETTO, Florida [NMT] -- The Palmetto Police Department has arrested Herman Bowers, Jr., 41, of 1015 26th Avenue West, in Palmetto.

Herman Bowers

According to the arrest report, Bowers and two women, Vicki Bowers and Whitney Buckingham, are family and live together as a family unit.

On Monday, April 21st, at about 12:20 a.m., the two women went to the Palmetto Police station and said Bowers had threatened to kill them.

Vicki Bowers said Herman became jealous as he showed her a message from Facebook. Vicki said at that point he told Herman to leave the residence because she was afraid, due to violence in the past.

Vicki said she then called Whitney and both of them asked Herman to leave the residence due to him being intoxicated.

Vicki said Herman told them if they call the police, they were all going to die.

Whitney dialed 911 and Herman hung up the phone. 911 called back and Herman hung up the phone again.

Vicki said Herman then walked up to her as she was trying to wake her son up and at that point Herman pushed her against a wall and brought a knife up to her throat and said, "You're going first" -- implying that she was going to die first, the report said.

Whitney then retrieved a prepaid phone from the couch and attempted to call 911.

Whitney said Herman walked toward her in a threatening manner while holding the knife in his hand and made her give the phone to him.

Both victims then fled the scene and went to the police station.

Herman was arrested a short time later and charged with two counts of Aggravated Domestic Assault.

He later posted a combined bail bond of $5,000 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

According to the sheriff's website, Bowers is a Registered Sex Offender.

Man Arrested for Grand Theft
by Embezzlement from
Macy's Dept. Store

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Johnny Bernard Carley, Jr., 21, of St. Petersburg.

Johnny Carley, Jr.

The arrest report said Carley was employed by Macy's Department Store in the DeSoto Square Mall.

From November 2013 through April 19th, loss prevention personnel have been monitoring Carley's activities while he was working his register.

Carley had been giving friends of his large discounts on items, which prompted the investigation in the first place.

While investigating the fraudulent discounts, loss prevention personnel discovered that Carley was also stealing small amounts of cash.

During an interview with loss prevention personnel, Carley admitted to stealing about $950 from Macy's over a period of time.

Post-Miranda, Carley admitted to the thefts, saying that he was homeless and needed the money.

Carley was arrested and charged with Grand Theft by Embezzlement.

He later posted a $1,500 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Woman Busted for Prostitution
after Advertising on Website

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Danielle Lynn Griffin, 27, a transient person.

Danielle Griffin

The arrest report said on Friday, April 18th, an undercover detective attached to the Special Investigations Division Tactical Unit was searching a website known for use by prostitutes.

he came across an ad that advertised "100 roses for a half hour" or "150 roses for a full hour" (roses meaning a dollar amount), the report said.

He called the phone number that was listed and made contact with Griffin. During the conversation, Griffin told the U/C detective to "bring protection." She told him to come to Siesta Inn Suites, located at 2303 1st Street East, Bradenton.

At about 10:20 p.m., the U/C detective arrived at the location and was told to go to Room 129.

After a brief conversation, Griffin told the U/C detective he would be able to get whatever he wanted, including "anal" sex.

She was arrested and charged with Prostitution.

In addition, she was charged with two Contempt of Court warrants.

She remains in the Manatee County Jail on a combined bail bond of $12,120.

Man Shot During Attempted
Armed Robbery

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office reported an attempted armed robbery that occurred on Monday, April 21st, at about 9:15 p.m., in the 3200 block of 51st Avenue Drive West, Bradenton.

A sheriff's report said Gerold Gonzales, no age given, was giving a friend a ride home to the 3200 block 51st Avenue Drive West.

Gonzales stopped in the driveway and an unknown Black male exited the vehicle next to him armed with a handgun.

The suspect demanded Gonzales' money and then began shooting at him.

Gonzales fled the scene with the suspects giving chase.

Gonzales was located a short time later in the front yard of his home with a gunshot wound to the hand.

Gonzales was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The suspects were not located.

The would-be robber was not further described in the report.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer or by text message will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

"ShotSpotter" Presentation
Planned for City

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 4:30 p.m., Mr. Phillip Dailly of ShotSpotter Technology will be conducting an in-depth presentation of the gunfire alert and analysis system known as "ShotSpotter" to members of the City of Bradenton City Council, along with members of the community.

This presentation will be held within the City Hall Council Chambers located at 101 Old Main St., Bradenton, Florida.

The City of Bradenton Police Department is attempting to purchase this innovative technology in an effort to reduce and/or eliminate gun violence within the City of Bradenton.

National Drug Turn-in
Event Saturday

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Law enforcement agencies throughout Sarasota County will participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) national event to "take back" and properly dispose of prescription medication on Saturday, April 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has permanent drop boxes at the Criminal Justice Center, 2071 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, which is open 24-hours a day; and the south county office, 4531 State Road 776, Venice, where the hours are 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Sarasota Police Department, the Venice Police Department and North Port Police Department also have permanent drop boxes in each of their lobbies and are participating in Saturday's event. Medication turn-in is always anonymous.

Prescription and over-the-counter solid dosage medication such as tablets and capsules are accepted. While boxes at each location are available to the public year-round, the agencies participate in the national turn-in initiative to publicize the permanent option for proper disposal.

Drug turn-in events address a vital public safety and public health issue. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets. In addition, proper disposal of medication is safer for the environment, which is timely in recognition of Earth Day.

Man, Woman, Guns Involved
in Domestic Dispute; Shots Fired

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- A Harbour Heights man was arrested early this morning after deputies responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in which it turned out that shots were fired.

Cole Clay

Cole Gregory Clay, 42, of the 27000 block of Solomon Drive in Punta Gorda, told deputies that his girlfriend had chased him out of the house at gunpoint after an argument over her taking his keys. Deputies noted a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from Clay.

When the deputies spoke with the girlfriend, she confirmed that they had been arguing, but she said Clay had taken one of her handguns and shot it in the air. She alleged that Clay continued to yell at her and, during a confrontation inside the house, had knocked her down. She said he re-loaded the handgun, put it in his pocket and tried to punch her.

The woman told deputies she was in fear for her safety, so she grabbed another firearm. She alleged that Clay went outside again, took cover behind a vehicle and pointed the gun in his possession directly at her. The victim said she jumped behind a concrete pillar as Clay fire two more shots.

The woman showed the deputies video from surveillance cameras at her house that appeared to support her account of what happened. The video also allegedly showed Clay tossing something into the brush prior to the deputies’ arrival. When they checked that area, they located a Charter Arms Undercover .38 Special revolver. The victim identified the handgun as being hers and being the one that she said Clay pointed at her.

Clay was determined to be a convicted felon from another state. He was charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon without Intent to Kill and Domestic Battery. He is being held without bond pending his First Appearance Hearing Tuesday morning.

Woman Arrested after Child
Seen Digging Through Trash

SANFORD, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A woman has been arrested in Sanford after police say her child was seen digging through a public trash can, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Jessica Flores was arrested on charges of child neglect and resisting an officer Saturday.

According to police, Flores' daughter was seen outside of a Sunoco gas station digging through a trash can with dried peanut butter in her hair at 5 a.m.

Officers say that when they arrived at the Value Place Hotel room located at 2727 S. Orlando Dr. where the family lives, there was rotting food and clothes everywhere. Flores claimed that the children must have left while she was sleeping, officer say.

Flores' children were placed under protective custody when she was arrested, WKMG said.


~ Tuesday's Local/State News ~

Three Charged in Armed
Home Invasion Robbery;
2 Adults, 1 Juvenile

BRADENTON, Florida [NMT] -- The Bradenton Police Department has arrested Johnny Edwards Berdeau, 19, 2000 block of 20th Street West, Bradenton, Julius Lang, Jr., 20, of the 200 block of 11th Avenue East, Bradenton, and a juvenile.

Above, L to R, Johnny Edwards Berdeau and Julius Lang, Jr.

A police report said on Saturday, April 19th, at approximately 3:36 a.m., officers of the Bradenton Police Department responded to the 400 block of 22nd Avenue West to investigate a 9-1-1 call concerning a Home Invasion Robbery.

When officers arrived they located three suspects, two of which were armed with handguns, in the front yard of the incident location.

All three were taken into custody without incident.

Two of the suspects were determined to be adults and the third was a juvenile.

As the investigation progressed, it was learned that the suspects forced their way into the residence and demanded money from the victims.

While the suspects were still in the residence a 9-1-1 call was made by one of the victims.

When the victims told the suspects that they didn't have any money, the suspects left.

Investigators later determined that the there was a fourth suspect who fled the scene prior to the officers' arrival.

None of the victims were injured.

Johnny B. Edwards was charged with Home Invasion Robbery and Burglary. Edwards remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $270,000.

Julius T. Lang Jr., was charged with Home Invasion Robbery. Lang remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $250,000.

The juvenile was also arrested and charged with Home Invasion Robbery, Burglary and Possession of Marijuana.

Anyone having information with regard to this case is asked to contact: Bradenton Police Detective Freddy Ordonez at 941-932-9300, or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer or by text message will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Walmart Employee Arrested
for Theft by Embezzlement

PALMETTO, Florida [NMT] -- The Palmetto Police Department has arrested Philip Joseph Lombardi, 27, of 302 26th Avenue West, Bradenton.

Philip Lombardi

The arrest report said Lombardi is an employee for Walmart.

The Walmart loss prevention manager was made aware of a missing cell phone from the electronics department after an inventory count.

during the investigation, Lombardi was seen removing the cell phone from its package and concealing it in his pants.

The incident occurred on March 31st at about 4:30 p.m.

Lombardi was confronted and admitted to the theft, as well as others totaling $500-$600.

He was arrested on April 20th and charged with Grand Theft by Embezzlement.

He was later released from the Manatee County Jail on his own recognizance, supervised.

Undercover Detective Arrests
Woman for Prostitution

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Amanda Gayle Kelley, 29, of the 8000 block of North Tamiami Trail, in Sarasota.

Amanda Kelley

The arrest report said on Wednesday, April 16th, an undercover detective attached to the Special Investigations Division Tactical Unit was patrolling the streets of Manatee County, posing as a "John" in an attempt to arrest prostitutes.

At about 4:45 p.m., he spotted Kelley walking at an undisclosed location.

After a brief conversation, Kelley agreed to have sex and perform oral sex on the U/C detective for $60.

She was arrested without incident.

A criminal history revealed three prior convictions for Prostitution-related offenses.

She was charged with Felony Prostitution.

She remains in the Manatee County Jai on a bail bond of $1,500.

Woman Arrested for Theft
of Clothing from Bealls

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Danielle A. Petersen, 21, of 406 116th Street East, Bradenton.

Danielle Petersen

The arrest report said on Tuesday, April 15th, at about 6:30 p.m., Petersen entered the Bealls Department Store located at 7365 52nd Place East, Bradenton.

She proceeded to select 5 pieces of merchandise from the racks.

She then entered a dressing room and placed the merchandise in her purse.

When she left the dressing room, loss prevention personnel noticed she wasn't carrying any of the merchandise. They checked the dressing room and the clothing wasn't there, either.

Petersen was stopped after passing all points of sale without paying.

She was charge with misdemeanor Shoplifting.

She later posted a $500 bail bond and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Palmetto Historical Park &
Agricultural Museum
Temporarily Closed

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Palmetto Historical Park and the Manatee County Agricultural Museum will be closed from May 19th through June 16th for renovation and exhibit updating.

Located at 515 10th Ave. West, Palmetto, the sites will re-open on Tuesday, June 17th and resume their normal operation hours, Tuesday through Friday and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month from 10:00 AM to noon and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

For more information, call the Park at 723-4991 or the Museum at 721-2034.

SPD: Woman Shot
in Head Hospitalized

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT] -- Officers with the Sarasota Police Department are investigating an early morning shooting that occurred before 6 a.m. on Monday, April 21st.

A female was shot in the head and she is still alive.

She and her car were found at 9th Street and Orange Avenue.

She was taken by Bay Flight medical helicopter to a local hospital.

There has been no further information released by the Sarasota Police Department.

Pair Charged with
Theft of Puppy

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- A Punta Gorda man and woman were charged Saturday, April 19th, with theft as a result of a woman reporting that her 10-week-old puppy had been stolen.

Above, Scott Wright and Brooke Durand

On Saturday April 19, a Punta Gorda teen reported that she had asked her neighbor to watch her full-blooded red nose pit bull puppy named Angel for her overnight the night before. She said the neighbor told her that the puppy was missing that morning. The neighbor said he had two visitors the previous evening – Scott Kyle Wright, 28, and Brooke Marie Durand, 18, both of 11117 Palmerston Avenue in Punta Gorda.

The victim told deputies that Durand had been at her house on Friday asking about buying the puppy from her. She said she didn’t want to sell Angel. Because of it being a full-blooded red nose pit bull, the victim said the puppy was valued at more than $300.

During the investigation, deputies spoke with several witnesses. Deputies located Wright and Durand at their Palmerston Avenue address. They also located the missing puppy at the same address.

Wright and Durand were arrested on Grand Theft charges. Wright was released on a $7,500 bond. Durand is being held on a $3,500 bond. The puppy was returned to the victim.

Car Hits Packed Florida Church,
Injuring 21

FORT MYERS, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A car slammed into a packed Florida church during an Easter service on Sunday, injuring more than 20 people, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

According to Fort Myers police, nearly 200 people were at the Second Haitian Baptist when the driver of a Lexus plowed into the building around 8 p.m.

Some parishioners used jacks from their cars to manually lift the vehicle off several people trapped inside, police said.

"Some of them (were) really looking bad, so we did what we had to do to take care of them," witness Nicole Plancher explained.

Mary Briggs, of Lee Memorial Health System, says 18 people were taken to hospitals. She says none required surgery and one person was dismissed later Sunday.

The driver told investigators her brakes failed as she drove into the church parking lot.

The crash remains under investigation, WKMG said.


~ Monday's Local/State News ~

Three Arrested in Ongoing
Sheriff's Office Animal
Cruelty Investigation

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Three people have been arrested in connection with an animal cruelty investigation.

Above, L to R, Alan Napier and Sheree Napier

Three arrests have been made in an ongoing animal cruelty investigation. Alan Napier, 51, and Sheree Napier, 45, were arrested Thursday afternoon, April 17th at their residence located at 20010 State Road 64 East, Bradenton.

Alan and Sheree Napier are charged with 15 counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty. Alan Napier is also charged with one count of Fraud. The animal cruelty charges involve nine dogs, five horses and one cat.

On February 5, 2014, deputies executed a search warrant at Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary located at 20010 State Road 64 East, Bradenton. Over 300 dogs, cats, horses, pigs and other animals were confiscated from the property.

Above, Dr. Edward Dunham

Then, on Saturday, April 19th, at around 11:00 a.m., Dr. Edward E. Dunham, 76, was arrested at his residence in Palmetto on one count of Aggravated Animal Cruelty. The arrest is in connection with the ongoing investigation involving Napier's Animal Sanctuary. He was listed as the Director of Veterinarian Medicine for the Napier's Sanctuary.

According to Dunham's arrest report, sometime in May/June of 2013, Dunham performed a spay and hernia repair on a dog named "Noel" using only a drug known as Ketamine as an anesthesia. However, Ketamine is to be used only on cats as an anesthesia and provides only an immobilization and amnesia effect on dogs, with little or no pain suppression. The dog, therefore, went through the spay and hernia repair for about 1/2 hour while feeling the operation's pain allegedly. Dunham's charge on the sheriff's website is listed as "Torture with Intent."

The investigation continues and additional charges are possible.

Alan Napier later posted a bail bond of $24,000 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Sheree Napier later posted a bail bond of $21,000 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Dr. Dunham later posted a bail bond in the amount of $1,500 and was released from the Manatee County Jail.

Palmetto Police Charge Man
with Raping Woman

PALMETTO, Florida [NMT] -- The Palmetto Police Department has arrested Andres Mendieta, 34, of Palmetto.

Andrew Mendieta

According to the arrest report from PPD, on Tuesday, April 15th, at about 12:30 a.m., Mendieta walked up to a Hispanic woman in her 40s who was sitting on the steps of the apartment building at an undisclosed address.

Mendieta pulled the victim's hair and told her to walk around to the side of the apartment complex.

Once on the side, Mendieta demanded she remove her clothes. She removed all of her clothing.

Mendieta demanded the victim to bend over and then had sexual intercourse with her from behind, the report said.

The victim later told police she did not consent to having sex with Mendieta.

The rape crisis line was called.

She did not want a sexual assault exam performed, but wanted to press charges.

Mendieta was charged with Sexual Battery on a Victim Over 12 with Force.

He remains in the Manatee County Jail on a bail bond of $30,000.

Duplex Fire Extinguished
by Cedar Hammock

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- At 10:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, 2014 Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue units responded to a reported structure fire at 5605 20th Street West, Bradenton.

Above, 5605 20th Street West
(Photo by Heather Chadwick, NewsManatee)

Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue responded to the fire with 3 Engines, and a Battalion Chief. Cedar Hammock was assisted by Manatee County EMS.

Crews arrived within 3 minutes of receiving the call and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the front door of the left unit of a single story residential duplex.

The occupants of both residences were out of the building when fire crews arrived on scene.

The fire was quickly brought under control and fire damage was contained to the unit of origin.

The home received approximately $20,000.00 in damage.

Cedar Hammock Fire Prevention Bureau is investigating the fire and a cause has not been determined.

No injuries were reported to any of the occupants or fire personnel.

The Red Cross was requested to assist 2 adult females, 1 adult male and 2 children.

Woman Arrested for Hooking
After Advertising Services

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested Cady Christine Kincaid, 23, of 3506 1st Street, Bradenton, the location of Days Inn.

Cady Kincaid

The arrest report said on Thursday, April 16th, an undercover Manatee County Sheriff's detective attached to the Special Investigations Division searched a website known to be used by prostitutes and observed an ad placed by a woman later identified as Kincaid.

He made contact and arranged to meet Kincaid at the Days Inn at the above location.

Upon arrival, Kincaid told the U/C detective he could have sex with her for $60.

She was arrested and charged with misdemeanor Prostitution.

She was later released from the Manatee County Jail on her own recognizance, supervised.

Manatee Detective's Handgun
Stolen From His Vehicle

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- A Manatee County Sheriff's Detective's handgun has been stolen from his vehicle. The incident occurred on Friday, April 18th, at about 9:15 p.m., outside Federal Discount Beverage, 5027 15th Street East, in Bradenton.

A sheriff's report said Detective McClusky was at the listed location and locked his assigned vehicle before walking inside.

He returned less than 5 minutes later and found that his department issued handgun was missing from a bag on the passenger’s seat.

There are no suspects at the time of this writing.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) -- or, to provide an anonymous e-Tip by computer, click here, or text MCSTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Callers to the CrimeStoppers tip line and Tipsters who submit e-Tips by computer or by text message will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Manatee Sheriff's DUI Patrol
Results Released

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- On Thursday, April 17th, at 7:30 p.m., the Manatee County Sheriff's Office conducted a county-wide DUI Saturation Patrol. The patrol ended on Friday, April 18th, at 3 a.m.

The following is a brief synopsis of the results of the operation:

3 total arrests (2 - DUI; 1 - Other Misdemeanor; 0 - Other Felony); 7 Citations (4 - Unlawful Speed;and 3 - Other Traffic Violations), and 20 Written Warnings. Also, 1 underaged driver was suspended for having a breath alcohol level over .02.

Annually over 17,000 people are killed and another 305,000 people are injured as a result of impaired drivers. Studies show that the average DUI driver commits this violation 80 times per year (once every 4 - 5 nights). National averages show that an alcohol related fatality occurs every 30 minutes. Data revealed that these incidents cost society over $54 billion annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, damages, and other expenditures - (source NHTSA).

Woman Arrested for Crashing
Vehicle Into House; Crash
Killed Woman Inside

SARASOTA, Florida [NMT] -- Jakeilah R. Weeks, 24, of Tampa, is facing charges of Vehicular Homicide, Burglary, two counts of Battery, Petit Theft and Obstruction in connection to a burglary and deadly crash that occurred just before 3:30 a.m. Saturday in Sarasota.

Jakeilah Weeks

Officers with the Sarasota Police Department were dispatched to a domestic situation and burglary at a home in 1700 block of 29th Street in Sarasota just before 3:30 a.m.

Weeks broke into the home of her ex-boyfriend and then fled the area. Upon arrival, officers were told Weeks, who is a suspect in the burglary, had just entered a vehicle and when officers attempted to make contact with her, Weeks sped away.

Above, 1728 32nd Street, Sarasota
(Photo by Heather Chadwick, NewsManatee)

Officers, on foot, ran to keep visual contact of Weeks as she fled north on Maple Avenue and witnessed her crash her vehicle into the back wall of a home at 1728 32nd Street.

Weeks and her vehicle went through an exterior wall of the home on 32nd Street and into a bedroom where homeowner, Eleanor Ball, 62, of Sarasota, was sleeping. As a result of the crash, Ms. Ball died at the scene.

Weeks was taken to the hospital and was booked into the Sarasota County Jail.

Store Owner Arrested for
Sale of Synthetic Drugs

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested Suresh Kumar Kanti, 45, on two counts of Sale of a Controlled Substance.

Suresh Kanti

On Friday, April 18th, detectives with the Special Investigations Section executed a search warrant at the Joy Food Store, 2273 South Tamiami Trail in Venice, and arrested the owner, Kanti, for two previous sales of "DZL", a synthetic cannabinoid, to an undercover detective.

Detectives executing the search warrant discovered a large quantity of additional suspect synthetic cannabinoid, under the brand name of "I Blown."

The investigation is ongoing.

"We are committed to eradicating these harmful substances from our community" said Sheriff Tom Knight.

CCSO: Help Asked to Identify
Credit Card Fraud Suspect

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes detectives need assistance in identifying a man who fraudulently used a credit card at several locations in Charlotte County earlier this month.

A Lee County man reported that someone had charged about $225 to his credit card on April 5 at the Publix located at 24501 Peachland Blvd in Port Charlotte. The victim said other charges had been made on the account at locations in Englewood, Venice and North Port that same date. Those charges totaled just over $2,800.

The man said he still had physical possession of his card. He cancelled that particular card upon learning of the fraudulent transactions.

During their investigation, Economic Crimes detectives found that, in addition to the initial charge, the account had been used to make charges at the Winn-Dixie located at 1951 McCall Road, the Publix located at 1500 Placida Road and at the Wal-Mart located at 2931 McCall Road, all in the Englewood area. In total, more than $1,000 worth of fraudulent charges were transacted at locations in Charlotte County.

The photo above was taken from video surveillance from one of the Publix stores.

Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect in this case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101 (ask for Economic Crimes), or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477).

FHP Asks Public's Help in
Locating Escapee

HARDEE COUNTY, Florida [NMT] -- On Saturday, April 19th, at approximately 6:50 a.m., a Hispanic male about 5'6" tall and a thin build by the name of Demetrio Deleon Ramirez, 30, escaped custody from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Demetrio Deleon Ramirez

The escape took place in Hardee County on SR 66 about 1.5 miles East of Merle Langford Rd.

The subject ran into the woods in a north-east direction towards his residence at 1182 Ed Wells Rd in Wauchula.

The Florida Highway Patrol would appreciate any help from the public in locating this individual.

If you have any information please contact the Florida Highway Patrol Communications Center at 1 (239) 938-1800.

Boy, 7, Electrocuted by Light
in Family Pool

NORTH MIAMI, Florida [NMT/WKMG] -- A 7-year old boy is dead after he was electrocuted by the light in his family pool, Orlando television station WKMG reported.

Calder Sloan was killed Sunday, not long after he jumped into the water to race a family friend across the pool.

Calder Sloan loved the water. Fish envied him, his dad said, because he was a better swimmer. He was ready Sunday to get back in the pool. It was the first time anyone had been in the pool in months.

Calder challenged a family friend to race to the other side but soon after they jumped in, the friend felt a tingle and quickly got out of the water, but Calder kept swimming, right toward the pool light.

A nanny was watching the boys at the time. Her adult son pulled Calder out the water and they called 911.

The medical examiner said Calder was electrocuted and it appears the pool light is to blame. According to an electrical contractor who inspected the equipment afterward, one of the ground wires connecting to the pool switch to the transformer wasn't attached and that sent 120 volts of electricity to the pool light, instead of the normal 12.

It appeared that strong current accelerated the corrosion of the steel that encased the light. Eventually water seeped in and turned the pool into a electrically charged body of water.

It appears the light was wired incorrectly when it was worked on recently.

The current flowing though a home's electrical breakers and pool equipment is dangerous, should only be worked on by a license electrician and it should not cost you a fortune to hire one, WKMG said.


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