So, yeah, Florida is a state where people routinely murder others and then chew off parts of their victims' faces. When it comes to weirdness, the state sets a high bar for itself. But every Friday, we're here to catalog the strangest things that happen in Florida. Here are the three weirdest things to happen this week that didn't involve weird things being done to corpses.
Funeral Director Calls Cops to Say He Totally Ruined a Bunch of Dead Bodies
Ha! Fooled you! You didn't actually think we'd go an entire story without someone doing something ghastly to a dead body, did you?
Last Sunday, Gregory Dunphy, one of the operators at "Brock's Home Town Funeral Home" (which has roughly the same ring to it as "Tim's Discount Rhinoplasty" or "Blind Eddie's Drive-Thru Neck Tattoos") called the Bay County Sheriff's Office in northwest Florida to turn himself in to the cops.
Dunphy, the home's director, had run out of body bags but, for reasons unknown, had decided his lack of storage space did not preclude him from taking more customers. This being the Florida Panhandle, Dunphy then allegedly decided to keep the bodies the only other way he knew how: in a pile, just like the Panhandle's finest residents store other important stuff like stained couch cushions, spare car taillights, and jugs of milk.
When police arrived at the funeral home, they were greeted by an orbiting mass of flies. Six bodies had been stored without refrigeration, and the corpses had decomposed in the parlor. Another ten bodies had been kept in a "cooler" with the temperature set at 62 degrees Fahrenheit rather than the legally required 40 degrees. All of the bodies had to be cremated afterward, which left the deceased folks' families understandably angry.
Dunphy is charged with six misdemeanor counts of unlawful preservation and storage of human remains. The co-worker in charge of the coolers was also arrested.
It's unclear what prompted Dunphy to call the cops and rat on himself, besides a weird disembodied hand that now follows him from town to town as he tries to outrun his nightmares.
Nude Man Caught Spraying Himself With Hose Next to High-School Girls' Locker Room
In the pantheon of criminal defenses, "You never told me not to do this" ranks just above "It was totally the guy behind you, and now he's getting away!" on the list of audaciously dumb things to say to a cop.
Sure, no one specifically wrote a rule banning 33-year-old Paiboon Sunthroncharti from breaking into Key West High School at 1 a.m. when teen girls were sleeping over at band camp. And, yeah, nobody precisely banned Sunthroncharti from exposing himself to those girls while blasting his nude, moonlit body with a garden hose right next to a locker room for underage women.
But if the American legal system needs to give you that much direction for you to not do those things, it's a wonder you're able to walk around outdoors and feed yourself.
After some girls told their band-camp director they'd seen Sunthroncharti spraying his naked body, the director called the cops, and the intruder apparently tried to bolt. After police found Sunthroncharti trying to hide by lying on the track field, Sunthroncharti looked the law in the eye and allegedly told police: "There are no signs saying I can't be here."
Perhaps realizing there were signs barring trespassers from entering school grounds, the cops did not seem to buy Sunthroncharti's first excuse.
So Paiboon "King of Excuses" Sunthroncharti, whom cops noted was sopping wet, resorted to his next-best defense: The culprits were totally "two short Mexican guys" but, alas, the cops had let them get away.
Correction: It's come to our attention this story was published in 2013. We regret the error.
Theft Ring Steals $150,000 Worth of Bees
Global warming may have seemed like the greatest extant to humankind. Now it's clear we'll all be killed by whatever criminal mastermind is stealing huge numbers of bees from Southwest Florida farmers in order to — presumably — ride a cloud of trained bees to Tallahassee and take control of Florida.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Since June, farmers have reported more than 500 beehives stolen in Lee and Charlotte Counties alone. A company called Wonderful Bees has had 732 hives stolen, totaling a loss of $150,000. The theft ring is so powerful and pervasive that Wonderful Bees itself is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information about where the buzzing insects had been taken. A multi-state task force has been formed to hunt down as many stolen bees as possible.
"These are real professional thieves," Cape Coral beekeeper Thomas Morgan told the Fort Myers News-Press. "They aren't beekeepers. You have a new breed of thieves here; they are pushy and ruthless."
A bee-extermination expert, Melissa Councell, told the paper that hives are typically stolen to be resold to start new farms on the cheap or to help with local honey production.
New Times, meanwhile, places the blame squarely on Gov. Rick Scott, who, because of his insect-like nature, is clearly hoarding the bees to find potential mates while he works on creating some sort of human-to-insect Tinder app. Either that or he's using the bees to dump honey into the water supply so we don't taste all the gunk he's allowing to be pumped into our drinking water.