LAND O'LAKES — The man with slicked-back hair and an open-collared shirt flounced in a McDonald's parking lot one night last week. He showed a homeless man his handguns, handcuffs and ammunition, which he kept in a briefcase. He said he had a Mercedes and flew to Cuba on Wednesdays. He had a wife, he said, but she had taken up with Sheriff Chris Nocco.
He said he planned to kill the sheriff.
Someone told a deputy about the man in the parking lot at 2420 Land O'Lakes Blvd., and gave a description of the Toyota SUV he was driving. A few minutes later, a deputy caught up to the same SUV, stopped it and ordered Robert Steven Fernandez out. He was handcuffed by other deputies.
They found a black laptop bag in the trunk. Inside were six Florida license plates, two 17-round magazines, two pairs of handcuffs, shotgun shells, reams of ammunition, yellow nylon rope, a chain and a scythe, according to a report.
He denied making threats against Nocco but said his wife was dating the sheriff, the report states.
Fernandez, of 915 West Ohio Ave., was arrested on charges of aggravated stalking, threatening a public official and violation of a domestic violence injunction that barred him from having weapons. He remained in the Land O'Lakes jail on no bond Monday.
Nocco called Fernandez delirious in a phone interview with a Times reporter.
"In this position, there's been several time when people have threatened my life," he said. "It's very unfortunate that this man who may appear to have mental issues has taken his own self-made conspiracy and wishes to do harm to my family. I've never met him. I've never met anybody in his family, and I hope I never will. But if he ever decides to follow through on his fantasy, it's going to be a very bad day for him."