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!
The iconic “Welcome to Key West” sign that greeted visitors as a “Welcome to Paradise” when they drove into the island city was knocked down after Hurricane Irma. Somebody made off with it in the days after the storm, and the Key West Rotary club made multiple pleas for the sign to be returned. Well, the ‘thieves’, or maybe they were safe-keepers, had second thoughts, and dropped the sign off at the Key West Express at the Fort Myers Beach depot this morning. Wink News happened to be on hand for a story about the Express, and went live with footage of the sign being loaded onto the Key West Express, who are taking it back to Key West today. That’s one way to get a scoop!
The Stolen Gator
A Sarasota resident was surprised when an Alligator wandered into his yard. He didn’t need to be scared, because the gator’s mouth was already taped up. It appears the gator had recently been trapped, but that the gator had then been stolen. I guess the thief ended up with a little more than he bargained for!
Ever see the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? There’s a scene where Murray’s character, Phil, times the behavior of armored guards to walk up and steal a bag of money when they aren’t looking. Some guy in New York actually pulled that off!
Here’s the scene from Goundhog Day, if you haven’t seen it before. It makes more sense to know that Bill Murray is reliving the same day over and over again, so he knows what’s going to happen…
So, a guy in New York just pulled off that move. He walked up to an unguarded armored truck, snatched a bucket of money, and walked off. The whole thing was caught on camera, and NYPD Crimestoppers are looking for tips if anyone recognized the guy. Here’s the footage of the sneaky thief:
Here’s the amazing thing… this guy didn’t just get a bucket of change. The bucket he swiped was full of gold! The five-gallon pail had 82 pounds of flaked gold, worth $1.6 million dollars. It was so heavy, it took him an hour to walk a few blocks where he got in a van to make his escape. Police pieced all this together by reviewing the surveillance footage in the video, above. They still have not identified him, and are looking for tips.
Screen Capture of the Groundhog-style Thief
I called this a robbery in the title, but it’s really more of a simple grand theft. Robbery typically indicates taking property from a person, but there’s nobody here. It’s like shoplifting, except from an armored car. It’s exactly like the Groundhog Day, theft, so I’m beside myself because it’s one of my favorite movies. But this guy didn’t plan it out… he probably just saw an opportunity, and got really lucky. Winner, winner, chicken dinner and bucket of gold. I think they have an idea who it is, because investigators think the suspect is laying low in Florida. Because of course he is. Just so EPIC.
Posted in Criminal Law, Florida, New York, Uncategorized
Tagged bill murray, crimestoppers, florida, groundhog day, new york, nypd, phil, robbery, theft
The Daily Mail obtained the security video of Ryan Lochte and the other US Swimmers were were allegedly robbed the other night in Rio: the same video the judge used to say they appeared nonchalant when he ordered them seized and their passports taken. What stood out for me watching the video is that, consistent with just being robbed, they men did not have wallets. While Lochte’s story has changed some in the details, he repeatedly stated that their wallets were stolen, but not their credentials. You can see credentials and cell phones, but not wallets of the four Olympians as they pass through security.
Lochte told his father when he landed he was going to have to purchase another wallet for the one that was stolen. The Daily Mail thinks they could be wallets, but they are not, or it was a wallet that wasn’t stolen. Lochte definitely doesn’t have a wallet. Also, one of the swimmers still had some money for the cab they got home- having a wallet wouldn’t mean they weren’t robbed. Free the swimmers!
The Florida Agricultural Crimes Intelligence Unit shared this photo of an alligator sneaking into a watermelon field and making off with a melon. This pic was snapped at a field in Hendry County last week. I’m glad they shared.
I didn’t even know alligators would eat melons… look how sneaky he is…
A Houston-area car salesman was approached by a prospective buyer about taking a Dodge Challenger out for a test drive, but he had other intentions. While on the drive, his buddies pulled up behind, detained the salesman at gunpoint, and threw him in the trunk. Luckily he was a quick thinker and called his boss, who could track his cell phone. He also popped the trunk release, jumped out, wrestled the gun away from one of the hijackers, and shot him. Um…dude’s a badass…