A man in Florida has an unexpected visitor that will not leave him alone.
Zachary Liberman, of Davie, Florida, said that a monitor lizard has been avoiding capture for four days, The Sun Sentinel reported.
This isn’t one of those small lizards that Floridians are used to coexisting with. This one is about 7 feet long and weighs about 150 pounds.
Liberman said he’s worried about his kids - a 2-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, despite the fact that monitors don’t usually attack people.
“On Sunday it was right at my back [patio door] window kind of scratching to get inside the house,” Liberman told The Sun Sentinel.
He’s called in trappers, hunting dogs and wildlife officers to catch the lizard, but each has come up empty.
They’ve tried to use bait like dead rodents and chicken hanging from a tree.
It almost was captured when it came to the edge of the garage but then it ran away.
“I had a baseball bat with me that I was tapping on the ground,” Liberman told the newspaper. “He seemed to be following the tapping sound, but then all of the sudden he turned and made for the woods.”
There are no natural predators for the monitor lizards in Florida and are not native to the Sunshine State, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
If captured, the lizard will either be given to a licensed wildlife facility or killed, the FWC said.
Liberman said he wants the lizard to go away so he and his family can get back to normal, The Sun Sentinel reported.
A Florida motorist posted a video Saturday that shows a motorcycle rider steering the bike with his feet — at full speed — on I-95.
The Jacksonville woman said the motorcycle rider passed her, even as her own car was going 60 mph. The rider didn’t have on a shirt or shoes.
The woman said she was driving on I-95 when she saw the man next to her on the bike. She told her son to grab her phone and take the video.
"I passed him and couldn’t believe it, so I slowed down and my son took a short video and a picture of him," the driver said. "I slowed to about 50-60 mph [my son] took the video.
"He looked completely stable on the bike – like he’d done it a million times – not a care in the world. He seemed very confident in his ability."
One Facebook commenter said: “Cool that he can do that, but completely reckless and irresponsible."
Another said: “I wonder how much that would cost him if he gets pulled over. He is putting more than his life in danger, so STUPID.”
A Florida attorney, who specializes in protecting victims of domestic violence, was arrested in Lake County on a domestic violence charge.
Deputies said Barrett Burnette stalked his ex-girlfriend and vandalized her Orange County home and car Tuesday.
Burnette ripped out a flagpole and used it to smash a taillight on the car before he threw the flagpole through a window of the home, an arrest report said.
Investigators said a woman in the home told them she thought Burnette was trying to break in to kill her.
The suspect is also accused of throwing a vodka bottle through a car window.
Deputies said Burnette's ex-girlfriend told them the pair were in an on-again-off-again relationship for 10 years.
The woman said she broke up with him July 2 because he beat her and took her cellphone, the report said.
Investigators said she told them he has been involved in three domestic violence incidents in the last week.
Deputies said Burnette drove to Lake County, where he was arrested.
When WFTV called Burnette's office Wednesday, a woman who answered the phone said he had no comment before hanging up.
Court records show Burnette was previously charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend in 2016.
Records indicated that case was closed, but it is unclear how it was resolved.
A political dispute between two men on Facebook turned violent in Tampa, Florida, when one man shot the other in the thigh and buttocks, police said.
Brian Sebring, 44, shot Alex Stephens, 46, after exchanging threatening messages, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Sebring is a registered Democrat and Stephens is a former felon with no party affiliation, according to the Tampa Bay Times. It is unclear how the two men know each other.
The details of their political conversation have not been confirmed by police, but Sebring told KTRK it was about President Donald Trump.
Investigators said Sebring went to Stephens’ home with a Glock handgun and AR-15 rifle and honked his truck horn, prompting Stephens to “sprint” toward him, WFLA reported.
Sebring fired two shots, hitting Stephens in the right thigh and buttocks, police said.
“I took two steps back, pulled my gun. Shot him in the hip and when he ran, I shot him in the butt,” Sebring said.
Sebring surrendered to police and has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed firearm, according to WFLA.
Stephens is expected to recover from his injuries.
Brians was released from jail on $9,500 bond.
A Florida man is accused of killing his neighbor with a pickaxe after an argument at an Osceola County apartment, deputies said.
According to an arrest affidavit, suspect Romeo Thielman lived in a studio apartment behind the Kissimmee home of victim, Luis Sola. Neighbors said the two were friends and no one seemed to know what led to the altercation.
Witnesses said they heard the men arguing before Sola collapsed in a driveway.
A neighbor found him bleeding from his head and called 911.
Thielman called 911 and told deputies he hit Sola in the head with a pickaxe, deputies said.
When deputies arrived, Sola could not answer their questions and kept asking for his wife.
He told deputies he threw the pickaxe in the woods before taking off to cool down, according to the affidavit.
According to the report, he said he did it because he was angry that Sola kept going into his home whenever he didn't lock the door.
Deputies said they had responded to Thielman's house earlier the same day over a domestic disturbance involving Thielman and his girlfriend, but it's unclear if the attack on Sola is related.
The death marks the ninth homicide in Osceola County this year, surpassing the first eight months of last year.
Cows helped Sanford officers corral a suspect who was on the 'moove' after crashing a stolen car, officials said.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter captured the incident on video Sunday night as police were following the vehicle.
Deputies said two suspects crashed a stolen car, bailed out and ran.
And that’s when the cows came home. The video then shows one of the suspects running through a cow pasture as the animals chased and surrounded one of the suspects, who was eventually captured by police.
No other details were released.
South African lizards brought to the U.S. as pets have started to populate across Florida in the wild and could spread to nearby states, according to a new study.
Researchers at Texas A&M said the tegu lizard is currently found in at least two Florida counties.
The lizard populations could expand across the Carolinas and into central Texas, researchers said in the study, published in the journal ‘Nature.’
Argentine black and white tegus are breeding in parts of Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties and there is a small population of gold tegus in Miami-Dade County. Red tegus have been seen in Florida but are not known to be breeding, according to the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area.
“They are voracious, omnivorous, predatory lizards that can live in a variety of habitats, but we can't know what is going to happen or how intense this invasion is going to become until the effects are upon us,” professor Lee Fitzgerald, at Texas A&M University, said in an interview with Reuters.
The lizards in Florida are armed with strong jaws and heavy tails used to attack predators, researchers said. They eat the eggs of American alligators, along with ground-nesting birds, insects and birds and pet food.
Tegu lizard owners describe their pets as big, calm and occasionally affectionate, Reuters reported. They can adapt easily to indoor environments, aren’t picky eaters and get along with other pets, but they can become difficult to manage as they grow, according to Reptile Magazine.
Fitzgerald said it can take years for tegu lizards to reach their full size, but new hot spots of tegu populations are emerging as more pet lizards escape or are dumped in the wild by owners.
“The most important thing that the public can do to stop the spread of nonnative species like tegus is to never release nonnative animals into the wild,” Jamie Rager, from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told Reuters. “Don't let it loose.”
Stunned onlookers couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw a woman toss a little girl into the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida, Thursday afternoon.
Witnesses called 911 and police responded to the scene just after 4 p.m., according to WFTS-TV.
Divers located the body of the child, identified as 4-year-old Je'Hyrah Daniels, about 75 feet from shore, but by the time emergency responders transported her to the hospital, it was too late. She was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital, WFTS reported.
The girl’s mother, Shakayla Denson, 26, was arrested nearby and is now in custody, according to the news station.
Denson is charged with first-degree felony murder, aggravated child abuse and grand theft auto, WFTS reported.
Investigators said Denson stole a car from a local auto repair shop before tossing her daughter in the river.
Officials are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the official cause of death.
Epcot opened a new exhibit this week, honoring American Indian art and culture.
The exhibit called “Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art” debuted at the American Heritage Gallery at Epcot, according to the Disney Parks Blog.
“It’s just exciting to see that natives are being included in the world of art and in the world of culture,” Brian Zepeda, a beadwork artist with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, said.
The display showcases 89 pieces of artwork and represents 40 different American Indian tribes from seven regions across the United States, the blog said.
“So thrilled that it’s here and that so many people will get to see it and hopefully walk away with a better understanding of native people,” Della Warrior, director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, said.
Among the many highlights from the collection are an “Ancient Resonance” dress by designer Loren Aragon from Acoma Pueblo, a Pokagon Potawatomi black ash hamper basket made in the early 1900s, a Chilkat blanket from Alaska dating to the 1890s, complements “Raven and the Box of Daylight” and a 2017 glass sculpture by Preston Singletary (Tlingit), the blog said.
Video on disneyparks.disney.go.com shows the Seminole tribe showcasing the traditional Catfish Dance.
“We are sharing it with the world,” Zepeda said.
The exhibit showcases not only the historical arts, but also American Indian contemporary art.
“What better place to showcase the diversity and beauty of the American Indian culture?” Carmen Smith, creative development executive-inclusive strategies Walt Disney Imagineering, said.
Update: 7:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 1: A Jacksonville, Florida, man seen in a viral video carrying an alligator under his arm during a beer run has been arrested, along with a second man, according to an official with the Florida Wildlife Commission.
Suspects Robby Stratton and Kevin Scott Keene are charged with illegal possession of an American alligator, illegal exhibition of dangerous wildlife and cruelty to animals, FWC spokesperson Karen Parker said in a statement.
The agency is still searching for other people that were seen in the video abusing the gator.
Both men could face a fine of $5,000, or up to five years in prison.
Disturbing images are emerging of men handling an alligator seen in a viral video of a man on a beer run with the reptile under his arm.
The additional video appears to show Robby Stratton and others passing the alligator around in the moments before he ran through a convenience store holding the reptile.
On Saturday, Stratton told Action News Jax he didn't know where the animal came from. In the new video, he appears to describe how his friend caught the animal.
"This (expletive) had a weed eater in his hand, looked over and found him," Stratton said in the video.
"I was working and he came up to me and I dove on his (expletive)," said the man as he described capturing the animal from the wild.
The video takes a disturbing turn when another man appears to step on the animal, then grab it by its neck and hold it in the air. He then shouts, "Florida State, baby! Florida State, baby! Florida State, baby!"
For the second time in less than 24 hours, Action News Jax ran into Robby Stratton as he bought beer at the same convenience store. He was asked why he was seen holding the alligator, and if he had any knowledge of where animal came from.
He said he's seen the new video, but had been drinking prior to this incident as well. He said he was under the impression the alligator was not real at the time. He told Action News Jax he released the animal into a creek near the convenience store after he realized it alive.
Stratton said he didn't run into the store looking for publicity.
“I know I didn’t go out and say, 'Hey man, let’s go viral tonight,'” Stratton said on Saturday night.
Stratton said he doesn’t remember anything from the night of the convenience store video, citing the influence of alcohol.
We asked Stratton twice if he regretted the incident and seemed to get conflicting responses. After first posing the question, a passerby began to voice her concerns.
"You should regret it," she told him. "The FWC is coming after you!"
"She regrets it," he said in response. "They already talked to me!"
We asked a second time later in the interview.
''I definitely regret it," Stratton said. "It was stupid, it was stupid.”
The FWC is presently investigating the video of Stratton running into the convenience store. He could face a fine of $5,000, or up to five years in prison.
FWC officials have not responded to questions about whether they are aware of the additional video.
A Florida woman was arrested after deputies found her six children home alone and living in deplorable conditions in a home in Marion County.
Deputies were called to the Porter Shoes neighborhood on Banyon Course Tuesday where a 2-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy were found wandering in the road.
They said the children were barely clothed and a witness gave a towel to the young girl so she could cover up.
Deputies later found that the children’s mother, Sara Resko, 30, left six children alone at the home.
The children were infested with lice and covered with open sores, deputies said.
The children told deputies that Resko had left them alone at the home while she was at work.
Deputies said the home was in disarray with no running water, no food and no electricity. The floor was covered in dog feces and the home was infested with flies, deputies said.
When Resko arrived at the home nearly two hours later, she told deputies that she had just been gone for a few minutes, but quickly began changing her story once deputies told her how long they had been there investigating, deputies said.
Resko had been in trouble twice before for leaving the children unsupervised.
The Department of Children and Families responded to an incident on February 2 and implemented a supervision plan with Resko, who was instructed to not allow the 13-year-old to babysit the other children.
DCF now has custody of the six children. Resko was arrested and is facing six charges of child neglect.
A lot of stolen tequila.
According to police, the thieves stole several cases of Patron tequila from the retailer July 27, around 5:30 p.m.
Police said the thieves got away with 72 bottles of the tequila, which have an estimated value of $2,437.20.
Officers posted surveillance photos of the thieves on Facebook.
Sanford police ask anyone with information to contact them at 407-688-5070.
A Florida man has gained viral fame after his attempt at the "In My Feelings" challenge ended in an epic fail – a car hitting him.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Jaylen Norwood, 22, of Boynton Beach, said he slipped as his friends were filming his take on the Internet craze, which involves dancing to Drake's "In My Feelings" after jumping out of a car. His spill sent him careening into the front of an oncoming car driven by a friend. Luckily, Norwood wasn't hurt, but the video took the internet by storm and landed him an interview with TV host Jimmy Kimmel.
Norwood's tumble isn't the only one documented in "In My Feelings" challenge videos. Safety concerns even prompted a National Transportation Safety Board official to speak out about the trend, also called the Kiki challenge. Nicholas Worrell, the board's safety advocacy chief, told the Blast last week that "jumping into lanes of traffic to show your dance moves is foolish and dangerous – to you and those around you."
The son of a Vietnam War veteran who recently passed away found a grenade in his late father's home near Arlington, Florida.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office told WJAX that the bomb squad was called to the home Saturday afternoon after the man reported he was cleaning out his late father’s home and found the grenade in his nightstand.
He believes his father brought the grenade home from the Vietnam War and feared it was still functional, WJAX reports.
Several nearby homes had to be evacuated while police removed the item from the home.
The Sheriff Office’s bomb squad took possession of the grenade to destroy it in a safe location.
It was later found not to be an active explosive device.
“You destroyed my life, so I’m going to destroy you.”
With those words, a Florida woman on Thursday night beat to death her 85-year-old mother for leaving her out of her will, , police investigators said.
Gabriela Perero, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, is charged with premeditated murder and aggravated battery of a person 65 years old or older, according to Broward County jail records. She is being held without bail.
Perero’s arrest report, which is available online, states that medics with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue went to Luisa Perero’s home around 9:15 p.m. Thursday after receiving a report of an elderly woman suffering from chest pains. When they arrived at the elderly woman’s condo, they found Luisa Perero suffering from injuries consistent with a beating.
They also found Gabriela Perero, who told the medics that she attacked her mother in a rage, the arrest report said. Fort Lauderdale police officers were called to the scene.
“I guess I’m going to jail. I beat up my mom,” Gabriela Perero said, according to the arresting officer’s affidavit.
The officer said that Perero continued to make incriminating statements.
“I pushed her down, grabbed her and tore the skin off her arm,” Perero said, according to the affidavit. “I did it all. I don’t want her to die.”
Luisa Perero was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in critical condition, the affidavit said. The victim, whose visible injuries included cuts to the back of her head and skin torn off both arms, was briefly declared dead but emergency personnel were able to restore her heartbeat.
Suffering from bleeding on the brain, she was placed on life support and died Friday of her injuries.
Gabriela Perero told investigators she was angry because her siblings were receiving inheritances from their mother, but she was not, despite being the one caring for the elderly woman. According to the arrest affidavit, she told detectives she became enraged over the ongoing dispute and began ransacking her mother’s home, where she was also living temporarily.
Perero said she broke picture frames and flung around paperwork, but was still angry and turned on her mother, the document said. She said she threw her mother to the floor, causing a bleeding head wound, and grabbed her by the throat.
It was then that she told her mother she would destroy her, according to the affidavit.
Perero told investigators that after the beating, she took her mother into the bathroom and washed the blood off her body, the affidavit said. She then put her to bed and called 911.
A pregnant woman, an infant and a 13-year-old were shot in Pine Hills, Florida, on Monday, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies responded to Gamble and Dunsford drives about 2:40 p.m. on a report of a shooting.
A 21-year-old pregnant woman was killed, a 10-month-old was grazed by a bullet and a 13-year-old was shot in the arm, deputies said.
Deputies said the victims were inside a car when they were shot. The woman died at a hospital. The 13-year-old was hit in the arm and the 10-month-old was struck in the side. Both remain hospitalized. The 13-year-old is expected to survive, deputies said.
A total of six people were inside the vehicle.
Investigators said they are talking to the woman’s boyfriend, who was also in the car and is the father of the 10-month-old.
Authorities are searching for two men driving a white, late-model Malibu in connection with the shootings.
Florida’s economy hit a new milestone. The state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) topped $1 trillion, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s chief economist announced Friday.
To put it into perspective, if Florida was an independent country, Florida’s $1 trillion economy would rank as the 17th largest economy in the world – ahead of Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Argentina, officials with the Florida Chamber of Commerce said.
“This is an historic moment for Florida reaching a record $1 trillion in GDP. By working every day to create private-sector jobs, we’ve been able to increase Florida’s GDP by more than $270 billion – 37 percent – since 2010,” Gov. Rick Scott said.
The FCF said the state is adding about $2.74 billion to the state's gross domestic product each day.
The chamber has launched the "Florida 2030" initiative to address problem areas in the economy, such as the achievement gap in schools and the poverty rate.
“This growth in our economy is good news and reminds us of the positive impact that business, community, philanthropic and elected leaders can have on Florida when we work together toward a common goal of securing Florida’s future,” said Tony Carvajal, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber Foundation.
Despite hitting the $1 trillion mark, there's still room to grow. Economists have long pointed to wage growth as an area in Florida's economy -- and the national economy -- that needs to be addressed in order for continued economic growth.
A homeless man with no arms is accused of stabbing a tourist from Chicago early Tuesday in Miami, police said.
Jonathan Crenshaw, 46, is accused of holding a pair of scissors with his feet to stab Cesar Coronado, 22, The Associated Press reported.
A friend who was with Coronado said they stopped to ask Crenshaw for directions and Crenshaw attacked Coronado, stabbing him in the arm, the AP reported. Coronado was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Crenshaw told police that he was lying down in the South Beach area of Miami and Coronado punched him in the head, the AP reported.
Police arrested Crenshaw and charged him with aggravated battery, according to the Miami-Dade County inmate record.
A grill could be to blame for a house fire on Independence Day, according to officials with Palm Bay Fire Rescue.
Firefighters said they were called Wednesday to a home on Yukon Street Northeast near Malabar Road Northeast and Emerson Drive Northeast.
"BBQ grill may have spread the fire to the home," the agency said in a tweet. "PBFR crews currently working to save the home and extinguish the fire along with crews for (Brevard County Fire Rescue)."
No other details were given.
A deputy was called to a home Friday in Astor, located west of Daytona Beach, after the teenager's mother called 911 saying her daughter was “trapped in a tree by a large gator,” according to a report.
"My daughter is stuck in a tree. There's a gator surrounding her. We can't get her out," the woman told the dispatcher. "She got in the tree to get out of the water. The gator is on land and in the water right under her."
The girl's father, Mike Henderson, told the deputy his daughter had been in the tree for 30 minutes and there was a 10- to 11-foot alligator at the base of it keeping her from climbing down.
The tree overhung a creek in a swimming area near Alligator Springs. The teen was on a raft when the gator approached her. She said climbing up the tree was her only means to safety once the gator began to get near her.
The report said the girl was up in the tree screaming. As the deputy tried to get a better look, he heard a hissing sound and saw the alligator in the water at the base of the tree.
Deputies said the Lake County Marine Units were still about 20 minutes away and the girl couldn't hang on to the tree much longer.
According to a report, the deputy was about 4 feet from the alligator and was hoping his presence would scare it away, but instead, the alligator got closer.
The deputy fired a single .223 round from a Bushmaster AR15, killing the reptile.
Lake County marine biologists came to the scene to search for the alligator’s body.
The girl was not injured.
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