Tag Archives: brevard

Sweetie the Alligator has been Deputized by Florida Sheriff’s Office

This video of an Alligator being carried into a Key Like Pie store, in addition to being the most Florida thing ever, when viral when it was shared a few months ago. Sweetie is a rescue Gator that lives at Jungle Adventures park… when she’s not visiting schools or hanging out at the Key Like Pie store. You can read more about the background of “Sweetie” the Alligator in this story by Craig Pittman.

Sweetie became such a hit, that Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey decided to swear her in as a “resource reptile”. You can see Deputy Sweetie most weekends at the Key Lime Pie store on Cocoa Beach, when she’s not back at jungle adventures!

Sweetie being sworn in

Cocoa Beach Man Threatens to Blow Up Probation Office to Avoid Violation

The state probation office in Brevard County received a call on Wednesday that included a threat to blow up the office. The office was quickly shut down, and BCSO and the FBI came in to investigate- they had a K-9 unit sweep the office for explosive devices. Fortunately, none were found.

Juan Christian, via DOC

Officers were able to trace the call, even though it was from a restricted number, and it led them to Juan Christian, a 38-year-old Sanford man. It just so happened that not only was Christian on probation, but he had missed his appointment that day for his drug test. He is on probation for drug sales, false imprisonment and battery. Officers met with him and he admitted to calling in the threat because he was afraid of being violated. Now, not only is he facing a probation violation for additional reasons, he has new felony charges for the terror threat.

It’s not the first time, and there was a case several years back in Fort Myers where a man actually burned down the probation office. That case was even more tragic, as the fire also burned a kennel in the building, killing several dogs. I was unable, and I can’t remember, if that culprit was ever caught, but it didn’t destroy many probation files, since they are digitally stored in a central location. In researching that, I came across a story I was unfamiliar with, where the Fort Myers DEA office was bombed. That was in retaliation for a man who had been indicted, and Jeffrey Matthews, the “Fort Myers Bomber” was caught and sentenced to life in prison for those and other offenses. As usual, the cover up is often worse than the underlying crime.

Florida Man Killed by Alligator when he Jumps in the Water to Hide Out from the Cops

matthew riggins

Matthew Riggins

Another day… another criminal reaps his own downfall.  Last month in Florida, Matthew Riggins was killed fleeing from cops investigating a burglary in Brevard County. His body was found floating in the Barefoot Bay Lake approximately 10 days later. An 11-foot alligator was found near his body… it was euthanized, and examination of its stomach revealed that it had caused Mr. Riggins’ demise.

matthew riggins mia

Riggins’ Missing Poster

It goes without saying that crime doesn’t pay. Riggins and an accomplice were spotted trying to break into a house (he also contacted his girlfriend before and during his attempted burglary and escape). Many times, the flight from the crime exacerbates the problem, often worse than the crime itself. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote an article titled: “Don’t Jump in the River When the Cops are Looking for You.” While that guy had to be rescued by law enforcement, it certainly can get a lot worse, as Mr. Riggins found out the hard way.

The inherently dangerous nature of criminal activity and flight from law enforcement raises the likelihood of harm occurring during the crime. See, for instance, the clowns in Garcia v. State, two of which killed themselves in the course of a robbery. The stakes are higher in Florida, not only due to the canals and other waterways that are so prevalent, but also for the nasty critters that hang out there. This is the second criminal to be killed by an alligator that we are aware of, and a third survived an attack just a couple years ago. In fact, there have been only 3 deaths caused by alligators in Florida since the start of 2007… and 2 of them were wanted men fleeing the scene of the crime. Don’t break the law, and don’t jump in alligator infested waters to try to get away!