He drank too much, hung out with alligators, committed fraud and tried to ruin Christmas.
The infamous "Florida Man"’ had a busy year in 2018.
Here’s a look back at the shenanigans he caused across the Sunshine State this year brought to you by WFTV:
• Starting the year off right: A Florida man called 911 to report himself for drunken driving on New Year’s Eve. Michael Lester, of Winter Haven, can be heard telling a dispatcher that he is “too drunk” as the woman tries to determine his location for responding deputies in the recording released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Lester was arrested and charged with DUI, driving on the wrong side of the road, improper use of the center lane and no seat belt.
• But he only drank at stoplights: A Florida man had an explanation ready when investigators accused him of drinking while driving. He explained that he was downing gulps of bourbon only when stopped at traffic signals and stop signs. Despite his explanation, Earle Gustavas Stevens Jr., 69, was arrested on a DUI charge following the June 27 incident in Vero Beach, according to an arrest report filed by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
• He got in touch with nature: A Florida man had to be separated from his capuchin monkey after he was arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle into a ditch in Holiday. The monkey, named Monk, is seen clinging to the shirt of Cody Blake Hesson, who was arrested on suspicion of auto theft. Sheriff's officials said Monk was wearing a diaper. In video of the man’s arrest, Hesson and Monk can be seen sharing a goodbye hug before the animal is confiscated.
• Sometimes, he combined nature AND alcohol: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated an incident in which a Jacksonville man went to a convenience store holding an alligator with its mouth taped shut. The video, which was posted to Facebook, shows a man holding the gator while he goes into a store to buy beer. The man, who has been identified as Robby Stratton, can be heard saying, "Y’all got beer still? Y’all ain't out, are y’all?"
• Sometimes nature didn’t love him back: A Florida man was injured after he broke into the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park and jumped into a pond full of crocodiles, according to staff members. Surveillance video shows the man jumping into the crocodile pit. Wearing only his boxers, the man was located in a nearby neighborhood. Officials said he had blood on him and bites on his foot. He had left his sensible shoes -- a pair of Crocs -- behind at the exhibit.
• He did a little self-improvement: A 52-year-old Florida man used a stolen identity to pay for $40,000 worth of dental work and to buy a $10,000 puppy, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said. Deputies said Timothy Powell told them he was recruited by thieves who encouraged him to have his teeth extracted and replaced with dental implants so he would look better for future fraudulent transactions.
• He channeled his inner Grinch: A Florida man showed up to Cape Coral’s Festival of Lights holding a large sign while yelling at families that parents are lying to their children when they tell them about Santa. He also said Santa isn’t real. Concerned parents contacted police, who said they could do nothing because the man was protected under his First Amendment right to free speech.
• He made himself memorable while applying for jobs: A Florida man stole two pairs of shoes to give as gifts to his mother after an interview for a job at a Kohl’s department store, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said. Alas, store representatives said he didn’t get the job.
• He got creative with currency: A Florida man was jailed after he attempted to pay for his McDonald’s drive-thru order with a bag of marijuana.The Port St. Lucie Police Department said in a Facebook post that a McDonald’s employee contacted the department at 2 a.m., saying that a man, later identified as Anthony Andrew Gallagher, was in the drive-thru trying to exchange marijuana for food. The employee didn’t take the deal, and Gallagher ended up in jail.
Here's to you, Florida Man. We can't wait to see what the new year holds for you.
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