8 crazy ‘Florida stories’ of 2021

Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s been another year full of attention-grabbing headlines that often had folks across the world scratching their heads… only to realize, the story came from right here in Florida!

From the “Florida Man” headlines to “Florida Woman,” it’s never a boring day.

This list of 8 wild headlines is presented in no particular order, but are listed in the date in which they occurred. Have a favorite “Florida” story from 2021? Let us know by emailing online@wfla.com!

1. ‘Dr. Love’, Florida man who faked being teen doctor, is arrested again

Date: Jan. 1

It didn’t take long for “Florida Man” to strike this year. A Florida man who made headlines after impersonating a doctor as a teenager and stealing from a patient landed behind bars again.

WPTV initially reported Malachi Love-Robinson, known as “Dr. Love,” was arrested for fraud and grand theft. According to the news station, Love-Robinson had been working for a shipping broker and is accused of defrauding clients out of $10,000.

2. Florida man steals entire stacks of lottery tickets, returns in new clothes to steal safe

Date: June 15

A thief tried a quick costume change after stealing as many lottery tickets as he could from a Fort Myers convenience store in June.

The man was caught on camera taking as many tickets as he could from a machine, then returning in different clothing to attempt to snag the cash register and safe, which turned out to be empty.

3. Police: Man steals gator from Florida golf course, tosses it around to ‘teach it a lesson’

Date: July 15

A man was accused of stealing an alligator from an enclosure at Congo River Golf in Daytona Beach Shores in July. William Hodge, 32, was seen walking along the road with the animal. Witnesses said they saw him swing it by the tail and try to toss it onto the roof of a building, before beating and stomping on the alligator.

Police said he told them he was tossing the alligator around, “to teach it a lesson.”

4. Man sprays bear repellent inside Florida Bath & Body Works; dozens injured, police say

Date: July 17

At least 35 people were injured at Miami International Mall in July when a suspect sprayed a bear repellent inside a Bath and Body Works before stealing two bags of candles.

“We started coughing actually, where we were, and it wasn’t even that close,” one victim said. “We were all of the way across and we felt it. We could smell it, we could breathe it.”

A manager at the Bath and Body Works was among those injured in the attack. She was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

5. ‘I think it is sending a message’: Florida man fills pothole with banana tree

Date: Sept. 7

A Florida man tired of having to fill potholes on the street near his business decided to switch things up by planting a banana tree in one.

Bryan Raymond, of Fort Myers, said he’d seen potholes swallow cars near his fitness business. When the county told him the responsibility to keep the roads in good condition falls on the business owner, he took it upon himself to fill the holes in the street and planted a banana tree right in the middle.

“If we have to maintain it and make sure nobody gets hurt, we are going to put something obvious there to make sure nobody gets in the hole,” Raymond said.

6. Florida man uses trash can to capture alligator

Date: Sept. 29

A Florida man managed to trap an unwanted guest in a trash can in September, and the video went viral.

Eugene Bozzi was armed with nothing more than a trash can when he trapped the six-foot alligator. Once the gator was in the trash can, Bozzi quickly got the trapped animal down an embankment near a retention pond, and he himself took off back up the hill.

Bozzi was later captured on camera wrangling a snake in his neighborhood with a towel in October.

7. Florida man wielding sword sets fire in roadway, floods booking office after arrest, police say

Date: Oct. 10

Authorities in Brevard County said they arrived to a fire in a Titusville road and found a man holding a sword and drinking alcohol in October.

Police said the fire was in front of Scott Taylor’s home and, when they arrived, he was holding the sword and had a knife in his waistband. They also said he began chugging from a half-gallon-sized Captain Morgan spiced rum bottle when they arrived.

Taylor couldn’t provide an answer as to why he started a fire in the road, police said.

8. Florida man tried robbing Waffle House with finger guns, sheriff says

Date: Oct. 19

A Florida man was put in jail in Madison County after he decided to improvise during an alleged robbery.

Sheriff David Harper said witnesses told deputies that Eward Wiliam Rodriguez entered the Waffle House with a small dog, pointed his hands into finger guns, and yelled “get on the ground, y’all are getting robbed!”

Rodriguez then said he was high and drunk before grabbing some napkins and leaving the store. Deputies found the would-be “armed” robber at his home, where he admitted to robbing the restaurant of its napkins, according to the sheriff’s office.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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