‘Mr. Florida’ accused of crime spree in Zephyrhills

Pasco County

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Zephyrhills police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for robbing several businesses.

Police say early Sunday morning, a man identified as Lawrence Franklin King Florida stole everything from alcohol to pet medication.

Among the businesses he’s accused of robbing is Little Cat Rescue, a non-profit that helps stray and abandoned cats. The owner says she woke up to find cats running in her front yard.

“I went out and there was just cats out in the front and I thought, oh my gosh what’s going on and I look over at the facility and I see the door wide open and my heart just drops,” said Desiree Angel Ballard.

She then went into the building where she keeps her cats and found items strewn everywhere.

“Everything there on the top shelf had gone over there on the floor, all the meds were all over the place,” said Ballard who believes the thief was after pet medication she stores for her cats. “He took cat pain medication and some de-wormer. He will be tapeworm free for the next year,” said Ballard.

She was then shocked when detectives told her who they think is responsible for the break in. Ballard says Lawrence Florida lived across the street from her at one time and even volunteered at Little Cat Rescue.

“The Lawrence Florida they told me about is not the one, that’s not him,” said Ballard.

Police believe Florida also broke into Massey Barbershop and stole hair clippers. He’s also accused of breaking into Lisa’s Barbershop and stealing two pair of scissors.

Police say they believe he also broke into Carpet and Floor service, the Living Foods Bakery and Cafe, Zephyrhills Veterinary Clinic, and The Great Catch restaurant where the owner says he stole beer and White Claw.

“We have a back gate that he entered through and there is a large cooler that holds our beer and he took 27 cases of beer down to the ditch and dumped it into the ditch,” said George Illes, who can’t explain why Florida took the White Claw, “He took it next door to the mobile home park and left it there,” said Illes who says Florida worked for him at one time.

“Lawrence, he used to work for me last year. He was here for about eight months, he was a cook in the kitchen,” said Illes.

During a Post Miranda interview with officers, police say Florida admitted to breaking into all the above-listed locations and agreed to walk officers around to where he dumped the stolen items.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss