First of all, I have all the respect in the world for people who live in Florida. In fact, I have quite a but of sympathy for them, judging by the kind of criminals they have to deal with on a regular basis.
Our "Morons of the Month" column regularly features strange but true tales from the Sunshine State, and this month is no exception. I continue to ask myself how so many of these zany characters seem to wind up in Florida. I have no answer to that, other than I'm glad they are not in West-Central Illinois or Northeast Missouri.
This month's medal winners, all from Florida:
I'm not sure at what point in his thought process this seemed like a good idea.
Matthew Erris of Plant City figured it would be a good idea to impersonate a police officer. Then he decided to make an arrest.
As you might guess, things went downhill quite rapidly for our counterfeit cop.
Erris was arrested shortly after he tried to pull over an undercover detective.
Erris, 26, had turned on the red and blue lights on his 2007 Chevy Trailblazer and tried to stop a vehicle that was being driven by a Hillsborough County Sheriff's detective. The detective contacted dispatchers who then tracked down Erris and his Chevy Trailblazer.
At last report, Erris was awaiting further proceedings after being released on a $2,000 bond.
Gainesville deputies were seeking 29-year-old Darian Glass, who had an active warrant for battery. When the officers arrived at his home, Glass came out of a room with a microphone in his hand.
When deputies told him why they were there, Glass began to sing karaoke, refusing to stop and surrender despite multiple requests.
Glass was eventually arrested on charges of resisting arrest, in addition to the existing battery warrant.
There was no word about his song selections.
Gary Anderson, 68, was arrested earlier this month with some of the key words in a Haines City arrest report including "drunk," "lawn mower," "police car" and "suspended license."
The Tampa Bay Tribune reported a Haines City policeman attending to a matter at a local store heard a loud noise and headed out into the parking lot to investigate.
The officer found Anderson on a riding lawn mower, complete with trailer. The officer's squad car had been dinged and the police report indicated Anderson was alternating between laughing and acting aggressively at the scene. Anderson admitted to the officer he was drunk and had smashed into his car.
Police say Anderson failed field sobriety tests and was taken to the station, but he was then brought to a hospital after he claimed officers had poisoned him. A Breathalyzer revealed his BAC to be three times the legal state limit for driving; a blood test also turned up cocaine, though Anderson, who already had two DUI convictions, insisted the police somehow spiked his bloodstream.
Officers also found Anderson's driver's license had been suspended since March 1978.
There is no word yet on how much time Anderson might be expecting to spend behind bars.