Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zombie cats and phony sex pills: the year in weird Florida crime

Bart the "zombie cat" at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. The organization was involved in a lawsuit with Bart's owner, Ellis Hutson, over his custody. [Times files]

Bart the "zombie cat" at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. The organization was involved in a lawsuit with Bart's owner, Ellis Hutson, over his custody. [Times files]

The Sunshine State might as well have its own edition of the board game Clue. Tampa Bay crime headlines from 2015 read like an "only in Florida" joke about what the heck happened this time.

The Florida man, with the shovel, at the strip club.

The Florida man, with the cottonmouth snake, in his pillow.

The Florida woman, with the cold chicken nuggets, at the Twistee Treat.

This year, the creativity of criminals was as wonderfully bizarre as ever. We've compiled here a list of this year's best.

Read. Remember. Enjoy.

1. Police: Teen intentionally created 'biohazard waste' in cruiser after arrest

That's right. She pooped in the cop car.

2. Florida man makes millions off selling fake sex pills

Robert Ernest Lohr is no pharmacist, but he still raked in $1.1 million smuggling a bunch of knockoff Viagra and Cialis pills. No word if the fake pills still got the job done.

3. Man facing disorderly intoxication charge tells police he's Kris Kringle

Santa? Not quite. Unless the Pinellas County Jail relocated to the North Pole.

4. Deputies: Man asks neighbor for work, ominously sharpens machete in front yard when rejected

"If you don't want me to work, then I'll fix you," the Pinellas Park man said, after stabbing the machete into the ground.

5. Mysterious informer helps dealership find its stolen cars

"They agree to meet at a Taco Bell. No guns allowed."

6. Man forgets clothes, remembers cranberry vodka, on naked midnight stroll in downtown St. Pete


7. Five days after burial, Tampa cat rises from the dead

His name is Bart, but most people know the young feline as Zombie Cat. Said one neighbor: "All I knew was this cat was dead and Pet Sematary is real."

8. Man shopping for coffee creamer at Walmart attacked by vigilante for carrying gun he was legally permitted to have

And the whole mess was caught on video.

9. Wimauma teen bit in lip by water moccasin living in his pillowcase

He did not, however, try to kiss it, authorities said.

10. Sheriff's Office displays two giant rugs that mistakenly read "In Dog We Trust"

The letter flip-flop wasn't spotted until a deputy pointed it out. Then some mystery human paid $9,650 for the rug, and the proceeds were donated to a local animal rescue.

11. Florida man shot outside Pasco strip club subdues attacker with shovel

… after he was shot in the arm three times. And the shovel came from a Good Samaritan passing by.

12. Pasco man wearing shirt that says 'Seriously, I have drugs' arrested, accused of having drugs

Submitted without comment.

13. Trashed? Two people wake up in garbage truck after drunken night out

Their path: From the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to the Wawa dumpster, to the garbage truck.

14. Ruskin mailman flies gyrocopter onto U.S. Capitol lawn in the name of campaign finance reform

Everyone's first question: what in the world is a gyrocopter?

15. St. Petersburg man accused of bringing baby to burglary

The baby was in a car carrier, and the alleged burglar did set the baby (his son) down (in an alley) before threatening his victim with a knife.

16. St. Petersburg man hired a female escort, refused to pay her, then held her hostage

… with three assault rifles, 10 handguns and 5,000 rounds of ammunition. But his mom still had his back. On her son hiring an escort: "I can't believe that. He has more gorgeous girlfriends than you can even imagine."

17. Hearse with veteran's flag-draped coffin left in parking lot outside Pasco Dunkin' Donuts

The drivers got their donuts and coffee, with a side of unemployment.

18. Pasco woman runs afowl of law over cold chicken nuggets

The 20-year-old catapulted the nuggets at a Twistee Treat staffer, spraying honey mustard, and her dignity, everywhere.

19. Brooksville woman almost slices deputy with one of 3,714 knives she kept in her home

Authorities found her in her home, under a blanket, with a sword. Other bladed weapons hung from the ceiling fan. Some stuck out from Halloween masks. Small axes, beside mini skeletons and body parts, were pinned to a tapestry.

20. Cops bust elderly couple with 30 pot plants in their home

He is 84. She is 73. And this wasn't their first brush with the law.

21. Ritual sacrifice, eugenics, and the resignation of a party chairman

Nothing says Florida! like one Libertarian throwing a fit over other Libertarians' unwillingness to denounce a different Libertarian for "sadistically dismembering a goat in a ritualistic sacrifice."

22. Video of Tampa teacher juggling dead frogs draws PETA's scorn

The teacher said he tossed the frogs around to calm his students down. PETA, which said the frogs had been "torn away from their homes in the wild," was not amused.

Tell us about your favorite Oh #Florida! story on Facebook or Twitter.

Times staff writers Craig Pittman, Zachary T. Sampson, Laura Morel and Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Contact Katie Mettler at or (813) 226-3446. Follow @kemettler.

Zombie cats and phony sex pills: the year in weird Florida crime 12/28/15 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2015 12:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  3. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body..
  4. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  5. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.