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Alligator 'ate toes off' homeless Florida man bathing in retention pond

A homeless man was bathing in a Port Charlotte, Florida, retention pond Monday when a 9-foot-long alligator attacked him.

>> Watch the news report here

According to WFTX, the man, later identified as 68-year-old Fredric Iman, sustained injuries to his left foot, left leg, left hand and groin. Following the attack, he went to a nearby surgery center where an employee notified police.

>> Alligator halts traffic to cross Florida road

“It looks like his, his pants are torn,” the employee said during the 911 call, Fox News reported. “It ate his toes off.”

>> Alligator attacks man wading in river with daughters

Iman was then airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, and his condition has improved from serious to stable since then. Many who live near the pond were shocked to hear what had happened to him, with one woman even saying she had always looked forward to seeing the alligator, which she had named Charlie.

“I’m a little upset because the gator is probably going to be euthanized,” Lisa Posten told WWSB. “People that live in Florida, they know not to go in these waters, this is where these gators live.”

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The alligator was removed from the scene and reportedly will be euthanized.

Florida man takes elderly neighbors hostage in bizarre attack over cup of salt

An elderly Florida couple was held hostage by their neighbor who asked to borrow a cup of salt on Friday, authorities said. 

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Louis and Irene Rosen, of Tamarac, invited their neighbor’s son, Leonard Benitez, inside to give him salt. But, Benitez then threatened the couple with a knife and gun, a Broward Sheriff’s spokeswoman told WPLG

Benitez, 45, reportedly demanded $50,000 and the couple’s banking information before hitting 99-year-old Louis Rosen in the head with the gun. 

Irene Rosen called 911 and escaped, but her husband was held hostage for two hours, according to WPLG

Benitez eventually surrendered and was charged with home invasion, battery, false imprisonment of an adult and kidnapping.

>> Related: Florida man livestreams his ‘crash parade’ while recklessly driving down beach

He’s jailed without  bond. 

Read more here

Snake knocks out power for 22,000 customers in Florida

Florida's Jacksonville Electric Authority is working on changes to keep critters from knocking out residents' power.

>> Watch the news report here

A snake is being blamed for a major outage in Orange Park that left 22,000 customers in the dark.

JEA officials said the snake came into contact with a high voltage circuit breaker.

A wildlife trapper said it was a red rat snake.

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“This time of year the snakes are really bad,” neighbor Cynthia Surrency said.

>> See the photo here

This is not the first time a snake has caused an outage.

In July 2014, a snake got into a transformer and caused a brief power outage at the St Johns Town Center.

Then in September 2015, a snake crawled into a transformer in Clay Electric’s Double Branch substation and caused an outage that left 5,000 customers in the dark for an hour.

Two weeks later, another snake caused a power outage that affected thousands of customers in the northern part of Clay County.

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Action News Jax asked JEA if anything is being done to prevent this from happening again.

Officials said animal guards and fiberglass brackets are being installed on distribution lines to help prevent contact between animals and energized equipment.

They also say the company is also working to prevent bird nests in substations because eggs attract hungry snakes.

JEA said on average, animals cause one outage once every two or three years inside a substation.

Fake engineer arrested after trying to nab $33 million construction contract

A Florida woman is facing charges for allegedly trying to win a $33 million construction project with a fake engineering degree.

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Janet Maria LeGrand, 46, was booked into the Miami-Dade County Jail on Wednesday on a charge of organized scheme to defraud, according to an arrest report obtained by the Miami Herald

LeGrand is listed as the president/CEO of Bleu Network Inc., which was one of three bidders for a project to revitalize an area in Homestead, in south Florida.

She “methodically created an elaborate facade to make the Bleu Network Inc. appear to be a large, reputable company,” investigators said.

The Herald also reported police records show LeGrand has a probation violation for writing bad checks and for failure to disclose “eight civil lawsuits and 15 wage complaints against her.”

Bleu Network’s website also included several allegedly false statements, such as LeGrand being a University of Miami graduate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and her company having offices in South America.

>> Related: Boy, 3, dies after drowning in Florida canal

LeGrand reportedly also has an active lawsuit against the city that contend bidding on the Homestead project was not conducted properly. 

Read more here.  

 

Beauty queen’s assault charge dropped under ’Stand Your Ground’ law

A Florida judge dismissed charges Wednesday against a former beauty queen, who was arrested for clubbing a guest with an aluminum bat at her holiday party last December 

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Former Miss Miami Lakes Vanessa Barcelo’s lawyer argued that Barcelo acted in self-defense under the state’s “Stand Your Grand” law, the Miami Herald reported. 

The incident happened during a Dec. 21 party Barcelo held at her Hialeah home to promote her cake business.

She testified that during the party, local disc jockey David Duperon tried to take advantage of her inebriated cousin, according to the Miami Herald

This eventually led to Barcelo and her friends trying to get Duperon to leave the party. Barcelo said she swung a bat near the crowd and slapped Duperon’s face. During the scuffle, Duperon got possession of the bat. 

>> Related: Pageant winner arrested after attacking man with baseball bat

“I was scared for myself and everyone who was there,” Barcelo said. 

“I was afraid that I would get hit with the bat. I didn't know what else could have happened.”

Barcelo was facing charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Read more here

WATCH: Florida man shoots AT&T work trucks parked in front of his home, police say

A Florida man angry about the AT&T work trucks parked in front of his home took matters into his own hands and opened fire on the vehicles' tires and engines, police said.

>> Watch the news report here

According to WFOR, Jorge Jove, 64, confronted the workers outside his Hialeah home about 11 a.m. Wednesday, police said.

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"AT&T bucket trucks were working on some overhead phone lines on utility poles,” said Hialeah police Sgt. Carl Zogby. "The owner of the house came out. He was upset the trucks were parked in front of his house, asked them to move. They said, 'We'll move in a few minutes, we’re just working on the poles. We’re supposed to be here.'"

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

Police said that's when Jove, a former Miami-Dade firefighter, went back inside, got a gun and began shooting at the trucks, according to WSVN.

The shocking moment was captured on cellphone video as one of the AT&T employees called 911.

"There's a guy shooting out my tires!" the worker says in the clip as a man – presumably Jove – is shown approaching and shooting at the vehicles, the Miami Herald reported.

>> Click here to watch

Police said Jove fired 18 or more shots, WSVN reported. No one was hurt in the incident.

Jove was arrested and faces charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and felony vandalism, WFOR reported.

Read more here or here.

Victim crushed by 7,000-pound metal pipe hitting his van, making miraculous recovery

A man who survived a 7,000 pound metal pipe crushing his van while he was driving on a Florida highway has a long road to recovery. 

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Jesus Armando Escobar, 36, has a broken neck and several scrapes and bruises, his attorney told WFTV.

Antonio Santiago Wharton, 33, of Kissimmee, was driving a Mack truck loaded down with scrap metal through Orange County Sunday morning. 

As he negotiated a curve, he lost control of his truck, hit the guardrail and overturned, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. 

A 7,000 pound metal pipe flew off Wharton’s truck, tumbled off the highway overpass and landed squarely on the roof of Escobar’s Pontiac Van.

>> Related: Orlando man miraculously survives van being crushed by falling scrap metal

The force of the impact crushed the driver side roof of the van, troopers said. 

Wharton was ticketed for careless driving.

 

Frozen Italian sausages fall from sky onto Florida family's home

In something out of a scene from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a South Florida family awoke to frozen Italian sausage on their roof.

The Adair family, of Deerfield Beach, woke up Saturday morning to the loud thud of several packages of frozen Italian sausage banging against the roof, according to WPLG.

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"It was like thunder, and it awakened me out of a sleep," Travis Adair told WPLG.

After finding two packages of the meat in their yard, the family checked their roof and found three more packages. In total, 15 pounds of sausage somehow ended up striking their home.

The packages were marked William Land Service, a land-clearing company from Alabama, according to WPLG.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

"I called them and the guy had no idea what I was talking about and probably thought I was crazy," Travis’ son Austin Adair told WPLG.

Baffled by the discovery, the family thinks the meat drop was either connected to a drug deal or fell from a plane. 

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