Fort Myers police received a call from Barbara Harris and responded to a home, where Ms. Harris indicated the had just purchased an abandoned property. She showed the responding officer documents from the property appraiser that indicated that she was the owner, and the officer told her she could enter the house. She forced the lock and opened the door, setting off an alarm, and then asked the officer to make sure there was no one inside. The officer did, and observed that the house was fully furnished, which was odd since Ms. Harris had claimed that it was abandoned.
Not long after that, a woman showed up with her family, and said, that no, the house was hers. She explained that her family had built the house, and that they certainly had not sold it, and provided documentation that they had been living there. The officer told Ms. Harris to stay away from the house. It appears Ms. Harris did stay away, but she made repeated contacts with FMPD to try to obtain the house.
Ultimately, the homeowner did her own digging, and was able to locate a forged warranty deed that Ms. Harris had filed with the clerk, and used to get the property appraiser to incorrectly display the property owner. It was a good thing she did, because by the time a detective went looking, the false documents had already been purged. It would have been much harder to prove the case without the owners own detective work.
Barbara Harris, who also used the name Barbara Jeffers, Barbara Jeffrey, and Barbara Davis in her scheme was convicted at trial this week. She faced up to 40 years for Theft, Burglary, and some forgery related offenses. There doesn’t seem to be any media coverage of the trial testimony, or what her defense might have been. She had told the detective she’d meet with him, but blew him off. I’m not sure how this case ended up going to trial… perhaps she didn’t want to accept what was probably an offer that included prison time. Regardless, the most amazing thing about this is the audacity of someone to forge their own deed, and then call the cops to try to help them steal a house!
A Collier man caught a possible burglar trying to break into his car earlier this week. He confronted he man, who ran away, and tried to escape into a canal. Officers later found his body in the canal: presumably drowning is the cause of death, but the investigation continues.
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.
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!
Posted in Alligators, Criminal Law, Florida, Uncategorized
Tagged alligator, brevard, burglary, felony murder, fleeing, garcia, matthew riggins, palm bay
Konstantinos Georgiou Mug Shot
Once again, the cover-up/aftermath was worse than the crime. Konstantinos Georgiou fled from the scene of a crash. He tried to commandeer a couple of people’s vehicles, before jumping off the bridge and into the Caloosahatchee River to evade officers. The marine units finally caught up to him, clinging to the bridge supports, and had to take him to the hospital.
The sad irony here is that the crash itself was not a crime, leaving the scene of the crash is only a misdemeanor… but trying to break into other peoples’ cars is a serious felony. Reports indicate he actually fought with the occupants of at least one vehicle, which makes the offense a Burglary with Battery, a Punishable by Life Felony (or PBL). His escape attempt is likely to land him in prison for many years; while the initial offense was relatively minor. He was lucky that officers located him and saved him from the river, it could have ended a lot worse after jumping off the bridge!
UPDATE: It’s extra dangerous to jump in the water in Florida, he wouldn’t have been the first to get caught by an alligator: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/man-flees-cops-is-caught-by-alligator/
UPDATE 2: The News-Press spoke to a witness who indicates that the suspect did run down to where the bridge gets closer to the water before he jumped in. (Also, photos added)
Caloosahatchee Bridge, from the Fort Myers River District, looking North
Robert Predmore, 61, of East Naples, was caught after a burglary, his pants still down when the cops showed up. They found him lying outside Joey D’s bar, passed out on the ground… pantless. The bar looked “like a hurricane” had gone through: with thousands of dollars in damage, stolen liquor… and a poop on the floor next to an empty bottle of Sambuca. His soiled pants matched the evidence inside the store. The also found a handful of prescription pills and a baggie of marijuana on Mr. Predmore.
That’s a helluva party to have by yourself.
Posted in Criminal Law, Gray Menace, Naples / Collier / Southwest Florida
Tagged burglary, criminal, criminal mischief, drugs, gray menace, joey d's, poop, robert predmore, sambuca
Today a jury found Randy Marquardt guilty of murder for killing his neighbor, and guilty of counts of burglary and kidnapping for abducting his ex-wife, who was estranged from him at the time. He faces life in prison on each of the charges.
29-year-old Timothy Bontrager is the next in a new wave of crime, the sleeping burglar. He broke in a house, and the homeowner got up in the morning, and found him sleeping on the couch. It’s not a burglary to sleep on someone’s couch. Unfortunately Bontrager also took the victim’s wallet and some other items, so he’s facing felony charges. This is the second publicized case of Sleep-Burgling in the last few months, both in Florida, natch.
I should clarify, it is still against the law to break into someone’s home, even if you are only going to sleep. The offense of Burglary includes the intent to commit another offense while in the home/structure/vehicle. This guys intent was pretty clear, since he walked off with the homeowner’s property!
Dion Davis, another recent Sleep Burglar