Yesterday, jollily bearded fellow Edmund Barksdale set the AP's Poop Alert Newswire® ablaze with his bizarre tale of getting Tasered while taking a dump in a Destin park. Yet he's far from the first fecal-matter felon to snag Florida headlines.
If George Orwell put thoughtcrime on the map, the Sunshine State has proudly one-upped him in the pioneering field of poopcrime. Here are the five most notorious cases.
5. A Sh*tty Driver
Last May, a cop -- who, if there is a Lord Baby Jesus, has a sizable bonus in his future -- was called to a hit-and-run in Vero Beach. A witness had seen 50-year-old Sheila Ann Keatings bounce her red Ford Explorer off a couple of nearby light poles. When the officer found her car down the block, he discovered Keating "attempting to pull up her underwear and shorts."
Well, let the world's unluckiest beat cop take it from there: "I observed the defendant's bowel movements secreting from her underwear and small quantities on the ground leading from the rear of her vehicle to the driver's seat." But Keating did have a solid excuse: She'd had eight Bud Lights before hopping in the car, she told police.
4. Hate Mail
Last November, Mike Gaudreau, the principal at Seminole High School in Sanford, received a six-by-eight-inch manilla envelope in the mail. As his secretary placed it in his mailbox, she noticed a "foul odor." When she opened it, she found a letter "containing colorful language talking about the high school principal," according to Sanford Police. Oh yeah, the envelope and letter were also thoroughly smeared with poop -- a fact that took a hazmat team several hours of lockdown at the high school to figure out.
Police promised to investigate but admitted they might not have many options. "There are no real charges for sending a poopy letter," police spokesman Sgt. David Morgenstern told the Palm Beach Post.
3. CSI: Feces
Inside the Village of Abacoa, a high-end condo in Jupiter, canine poopcrime has grown so pervasive that owners have agreed to pay hundreds of dollars to buy the best in forensic shit science. Starting next month, the condo dwellers will pony up $200 so the crap police can collect dog dung, store it in plastic tubes, and then mail it to a company in Tennessee. The firm's crack scientists will then extract DNA and compare it with a registry of every pet in the village to determine whose pooch defiled the lawn.
Never mind that this is more advanced science than Miami Police apply to most murder cases. There's an epidemic afoot in Abacoa! "Dog crap is everywhere," a manager tells the Palm Beach Post -- "in elevators, in stairwells, in carpets, and in the lobby." Owners caught with DNA science face
life in prison a moderate fee.
2. Our Poop-Mouthed Legislature
Amid this fecal crime wave sweeping Florida, there's one man in Tallahassee proudly sticking up for legalizing human shit: Rep. Bryan Nelson (R-Apopka). Here's a fact you probably never considered while biting into a fresh, juicy Florida tomato: It's perfectly legal here to pump poop out of septic tanks, treat it with a little lime, and then spray it all over Florida's crops. In fact, human waste fertilization is a booming business for 90 or so companies around the state.
The only problem is that it's not so healthy to spray human shit all over fertile farmland; even when well-treated, it can spread dangerous diseases, poison water, and foster algae blooms. So last year, the Florida Legislature voted to ban the practice. Enter Nelson! The fearless poop advocate says the ban actually amounts to a "tax on septic tank owners," muscling a ban reversal through the House in May by a wide margin.
1. The St. Pete Hotel Poop Bandits
In the pantheon of poopcrime gods, Andrew Harris and Michael Cline are the unquestioned Zeus and Poseidon thanks to their alleged late-night crime spree in August 2010. According to police, the 18-year-old Harris and 19-year-old Cline snuck into the chic Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club just before midnight and hopped into the pool. That's when things got poopy.
Police say security cams show that Harris "defecated in his shorts, reached in his shorts, and flung feces all over the pool." With Cline watching, he allegedly grabbed more shit, swam to the bottom, and painted a giant X with his crap. The pair was caught soon after, lounging in the hot tub.
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