A lot of weird things happen in Florida every week, and on Fridays we're here to round up the weirdest. In fact, this is a very special themed edition of WTF Florida, inspired by the fact that Florida's small-time thieves were especially stupid this week, basically not only asking to get arrested but also to make international "weird Florida" headlines. They include a couple who pulled a gallery heist and then left their names in the guest book, and not one but two people who stole things and then tried to sell them back to their owners.
Couple Steals From Art Gallery After Leaving Their Names in the Guest Book
Art gallery guest books are a good place to leave your contact info if you want further information about the gallery's exhibits and events. They are not a good place to leave your contact info if you want to straight-up steal their work.
Over the weekend, the ICFA Gallery in West Palm Beach was displaying the work of jewelry artist Attila J.K. Twenty-four-year-old Megan Ohara and 19-year-old David Ziskowski walked in and apparently liked what they saw, because they swiped a bracelet and a ring, police say. Turns out the pieces were worth a combined $6,000.
The artist was present and noticed his work was missing. He contacted police and gave them a description of the duo but then noticed there were some strange markings left in the gallery guest book. Several fake email addresses, including a few that included the name "Meg" and "WeDidntTakeIt@gmail.com" were left. Scribbles of a penis and a woman's face, also labeled "Meg," were drawn, and a phone number, which, you guessed it, turned out to be Megan's actual number were also inscribed in the book. Cops recognized the duo from around town and picked them up at a local Publix. They admitted they had left the guest book info and stolen the jewelry but said they wouldn't have taken the items if they knew they were so expensive.
Man Attempts to Sell Stolen Car Back to Owner
Despite what you've seen in the movies, ransom is not a very smart criminal caper, especially when you're a two-bit criminal holding some random guy's car for ransom. It really works only with the children of wealthy families who have a dark secret.
Walter Potts of Daytona Beach had his car stolen, which surely sucks, but then he got a call from an anonymous tipster saying he knew the location of the car. The tipster, however, added that he'd need $150 in order to give Potts his keys back. Potts agreed to meet, but only after calling the police first.
Potts and the tipster, who turned out to be 20-year-old Devin Holt-Thayer, met at a Save-a-Lot, but naturally police were there to be on the lookout. Holt-Thayer noticed the officers as they were approaching and tried to hide inside a nearby auto parts store. Holt-Thayer said he hid the keys and was paid $10 to deliver the keys. Cops weren't buying his excuse and charged him with dealing in stolen property and grand theft auto, both felonies.
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Man Attempts to Sell Stolen Laptop Back to Owner
One has to wonder how many people are behind bars simply because they lack common sense. Like Holt-Thayer, Darren Searchwell could use some as well.
Twenty-one-year-old Searchwell allegedly stole a Palm Beach County man's laptop. Instead of figuring out how to smoothly sell it without a trace, Searchwell posted an ad to sell the laptop on Craigslist. Yes, Craigslist, the very well-known online classified site. It's the first place anyone would check if they had something stolen from them. Well, they probably weren't stupid enough to put it online on the local Craigslist, but it wouldn't hurt to look, thinks the victim of every burglary ever.
That includes the laptop's owner, and he actually found it. Turns out he could, uh, search well. So the owner called police and had them set up a meeting with Searchwell. Naturally, he attempted to run but was cornered by a K-9 unit in a nearby canal. He was charged with burglary, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, and resisting an officer without violence.