Saturday, April 21, 2018
Public safety

Dade City woman discovers stranger sleeping in her car

DADE CITY — Authorities have long stressed the importance of locking car doors.

"People just make the burglar's job easier when they don't," said Capt. David Duff of the Dade City Police Department. "It's quick. It's quiet. They aren't going to break a window when they could just open a door."

And they may help themselves to more than your GPS or the spare change in the center console.

Over Tuesday night, authorities say, a woman left her car door unlocked outside her 11th Street home. Just after 7 a.m. Wednesday, she found a shirtless 40-year-old man sleeping in her Land Rover.

Joseph Cross awoke, got out and started walking up the street, a Dade City police report states. An officer who arrived two minutes later found Cross wearing brown pants and work boots, shaking and "acting suspicious" as he headed for a nearby park. The officer asked where Cross was coming from that morning.

"Well," Cross told him, according to the report, "I guess I was sleeping in a car."

The officer searched Cross and found a box cutter in his pants pocket, the edge of the blade coated with cocaine residue, the report states. Cross told the officer he had done a line of cocaine and smoked marijuana the night before. Then he explained his sleeping arrangements.

"I was arguing with my woman last night and don't really know why I was in the vehicle," Cross said. "I don't think I did anything wrong by sleeping in the vehicle."

It's unclear how Cross ended up nearly 9 miles from his own home at 38532 Lobelia Ave.

He told officers he makes $80 a day at his job, the report states, "but could not explain why he couldn't pay for a place to sleep."

Cross was arrested on charges of burglary and possession of cocaine. He remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Friday in lieu of $6,000 bail.

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