THE ‘ONLY IN FLORIDA’ STORIES OF 2020

While commonly known as the Sunshine State, Florida is also recognized for bizarre crimes and interesting incidents. And 2020 had its share of Florida Man incidents, too. From a grim reaper on the beach to a claim of stealing toilet paper to give to the poor, here are some of the stories that could only happen here.

IGUANA INJURES MAN

And it occurred right here in the Keys. A 62-year-old Marathon man was taken to the hospital with head injuries on the morning of July 9 after his bike crashed into an iguana. Monroe County Sheriff’s Traffic Enforcement Unit Deputy Andrew Leird responded  at 10:48 a.m. to the bicycle path area in front of Crane Point Hammock.

There he found the victim with scrapes and cuts to his head, arms and right leg. The victim said he was traveling south on the bicycle path when an iguana darted out in front of him from the median grass area. The iguana became lodged between the front tire and front wheel fork of the bicycle, causing the front tire to lock, which threw the victim over the handlebars and onto the asphalt.

The victim was taken to Fishermen’s Hospital in stable condition. The condition of the iguana did not appear as stable.

WINGING IT

A Florida man was taken into custody on Dec. 29 after reportedly stealing all the chicken wings and other hot food from a Naples 7-Eleven. 

According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called just after 8:20 p.m. for a man who reportedly put on gloves, took food items and left the store without paying for them. The clerk said the man, who wasn’t identified at the time of the report, is a frequent visitor. The last time, he allegedly ate three chicken wings in front of the clerk and left without paying. The man was later found and taken into custody. He was charged with disorderly conduct. 

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GYMNASTICS ON THE HIGHWAY

A 40-year-old man who allegedly blocked traffic in Orlando on July 21 was eventually captured by police after evading them by cartwheeling away. 

Video captured by Olivier Francois shows the man in the path of a truck near a Wawa. In the video, the man lies down in the middle of the highway. Orange County sheriff’s deputies attempt to detain the man, who frees himself and performs a cartwheel before being detained again. 

According to the sheriff’s office, the gymnast, Gianfranco Fernandez, was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

TOILET PAPER TAKEAWAY

A toilet paper shortage earlier in the year brought one man to steal more than 60 rolls from an Orlando hotel. According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Angel Hernandezcinto was arrested after taking 66 toilet paper rolls from the Marriott Hotel on World Center Drive. A security guard said he saw the 31-year-old pushing a trash can to his van and put a bag inside. The guard peered through the window to find a bag full of unused toilet paper rolls from the hotel. When Hernandezcinto came back out, deputies said he admitted to taking the 66 rolls of toilet paper, which were valued at $0.99 each.

Hernandezcinto reportedly told the guard that he knew a lady who was poor and had no job and he was taking the toilet paper to help her and her family. 

‘GRIM REAPER BEACH TOUR’

Beaches reopened in Northwest Florida in May, and one lawyer wasn’t in favor of it — so much that he dressed as a grim reaper. Daniel W. Uhlfelder, a lawyer and resident of Walton County, called it his “Grim Reaper Beach Tour” to protest the decision by local and state governments to reopen beaches to locals and tourists. Dressing as the grim reaper, Uhlfelder would walk up and down the beaches to spread his message. 

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