The year is far from over, yet already there have been enough bizarre Florida headlines to fill a book. The good people are the Sunshine State are known for their outlandish crimes and allegations, many of which go viral. In 2019, that meme has hit a fever pitch.
The phenomenon of strange crime stories out of Florida has been gaining notice in recent years. The meme is typically referred to as "Florida Man," implying that every bizarre crime is committed by a single reckless guy.
Some of the most famous headlines over the years include "Florida Man Busted In Illegal Butt Injection Practice," "Florida Man Arrested for Giving People Wedgies" and "Florida Man Kills Wife After She Refuses to Cook Hamburger," among others.
Surprisingly, even with people looking for these gems, they continue to pop up with frightening regularity.
"Florida Man" has birthed whole subreddits, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, with fans gleefully scrolling through the outlandish headlines. All the while, the good people of Florida have continued to create more and more headlines.
Here is a look at some of the best Florida headlines of 2019 so far.
Back in April, 32-year-old Ben Padgett was arrested in Naples, Florida, for "eating pasta belligerently." According to a report by local CBS News affiliate WHNT19, Padgett was drunk and shirtless when police found him outside an Olive Garden at 3:30 p.m. He was reportedly yelling at other patrons, cursing loudly and "shovelling spaghetti into his mouth with his hands."
Padgett was charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest.
Ronnie Dillon Willis nearly got away with the perfect crime, according to CBS Miami, until he realized he had forgotten his phone. Back in March, Willis stole a jeep in Winter Haven, Florida, and drove off before realizing what he was missing. Incredibly, he turned around and went back to the scene of the crime, where police were waiting.
Willis reportedly told police that he woke up in the Jeep, but could not remember whether it was a vehicle he had already stolen or not. After knocking on the door of the home and not getting an answer, he decided to take the car for a ride regardless.
Willis was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle and given a ticket for driving with a suspended license.
Not all of the strange Florida headlines concern natives, including this story from the Miami New Times in May. At the time, a family on vacation stayed at an Airbnb in Miami, where they found an unwelcome visitor.
"My daughter, who’s 14, was like, 'Dad, this is soooo meta,'" said Dave Jacobs.
The family found an alligator lying out on a pool float shaped like an alligator, right in their backyard. After having a good laugh over it, they family called wildlife management, who took the animal somewhere more appropriate.
A tense standoff in February reportedly ended when police offered the suspect a fresh slice of pizza. Evan Charles McLemore found himself in a 4-hour negotiation with a SWAT team, according to Fox News, unsure of what exactly he was demanding.
McLemore had previously raised suspicion by texting Coldplay lyrics to his family in threatening manner, including warnings of retribution by his "Nazi prison associates."
"Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you,” he wrote.
Soon after that, police responded to a call about a possible battery at McLemore's home. He had barricaded himself into his room with a firearm, and refused to come out.
Somewhere in the hours of negotiation and discussion, police mentioned pizza to McLemore, and something clicked. Local police posted a photo of SWAT members with a fresh pizza, writing: "never underestimate the power of pizza with flavored crust."
A 19-year-old man was arrested in May after he fled a traffic stop, then called 911 to brag about it. According to local ABC News affiliate KMBC9, Nicholas Jones was pulled over by police, but then somehow drove away from them through a parking lot and escaped.
An hour later, Jones called 911 to discuss the whole experience, apparently mocking the dispatcher and the officer who had pulled him over.
"I want to know... I, like, ran from a cop 30 minutes to an hour ago. I was the guy... that... over there off of Kings Estates. Like, what do we pay you guys for?" Jones reportedly said. "Like, I've driven past four cops."
"I mean he turned his lights on me and got behind me and as he was walking up to my car I did a donut around him and left," Jones said when asked for details. "Like... my question is... I'm assuming he put an APB out that has someone looking for my car... so, like, he definitely got the plate number but I've passed like four cops just driving around... Like, what are you guys doing?"
Ultimately it was the call that got Jones caught, not his plate numbers. When deputies caught up with him and told him this, he found it funny as well.
"That's funny. So I told on myself?" Jones reportedly said. "No cop can catch me in my Hyundai Elantra, that thing is fast."
Jones was charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, misusing 911 and violation of probation.
Just this month, a crime occurred in Deltona, Florida, that police say they have little hope of solving. An unnamed Florida man called police to say that a 9 mm Glock handgun had been stolen from his bedroom during a sexual party over the weekend. However, he could not provide police with a list of suspects, since many of the attendees wore masks all night.
The party-goers were reportedly encouraged to obscure their identities at the party, even going by fake names and bringing friends along. Police told Click Orlando that the theft was unlikely to be solved.
A man in on Interstate 4 in Hillsborough County, Florida, picked the wrong person to mess with last month. According to a report by local NBC News affiliate WFLA, a man posing as a police officer pulled over an actual off-duty officer, exposing himself as a fraud.
The impostor was 35-year-old Barry Hastings Jr., who fled the scene when he realized he had been caught. He was eventually arrested nonetheless, and charged with impersonating an officer.
Police arrested an Illinois woman after they allegedly caught her driving her SUV while her children sat in an inflatable pool on the roof. https://t.co/vTbfT99t6O— ABC News (@ABC) July 11, 2019
Last month, a woman in Orlando was arrested for allegedly driving down the street with an inflatable pool full of children on the roof of her SUV. According to a report by Fox News, Jennifer A. Janus Yeager, 49, had the kiddie pool on top of her Audi Q5 full of water, with her children playing inside.
Yeager was reported by a concerned citizen who witnessed the stunt. Officers responded to the scene and found the pool still on the roof of the vehicle. She explained that she had driven to a friend's house to have the pool inflated, then had her daughters sit in it with the water, hoping they would weigh it down for the drive home.
Yeager was charged with two counts of Endangering the Health or Life of a Child and two counts of Reckless Conduct.
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