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Parent beats up good Samaritan helping lost child, police say

A good Samaritan did what almost anyone would do: try to reunite a lost child with his or her family.

But police in Lakeland, Florida, said that the man was beaten by the parent of the child he was trying to help.

Police said the man was with friends when he saw the 2-year-old girl alone. Thinking she was lost he walked her around hoping she would point out her parents, WFLA reported

>> Read more trending news 

At the same time, the parents were told that the man was walking toward the playground and that bystanders thought he was trying to kidnap the little girl.

Three men found the man and the little girl. The father said that as one of his friends grabbed his daughter, he punched the man several times, WFLA reported.

“I saw this man with my daughter in his hands walking toward the parking lot. What would you do?” the father said to WFLA.

Police said they investigated and determined no crime had happened. They confirmed the man who was trying to help was visiting friends who happened to be off-duty deputies.

The man decided not to file charges against the girl’s father.

But the father and his friends and family aren’t taking the man at his word. They’ve gone to to social media and shared his photo, Facebook page and his business, saying he’s a child predator, WFLA reported.

Police warn that anyone who posts false information on social media could be the source of a defamation of character claim and could be held liable, WFLA reported.

Before posting to social media, police suggest calling police to verify what happened and get correct information.

Gator chases Florida man trying to take photo

A Florida man had a close call with a gator after he strayed from a path to take a better picture of the amphibian. 

>> Read more trending news

The man left other hikers on the boardwalk of La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie in Gainesville and encroached on a mother alligator’s space as she was sunbathing, according to Ben Boukari Jr., who posted the video on Facebook

“Guy is way too close,” Boukari wrote on Facebook.

As the man reached into his backpack, the gator lunged at him and chomped on his tripod. The reptile continued to inch closer to the man as he stumbled into the bushes. 

Think the man learned his lesson? Just watch the video. He clearly didn’t. 

The man went back to grab his stuff and within seconds the gator was on the shore ready to attack.

Unmanned boat crashes full-speed onto Florida beach

A man is under arrest for allegedly stealing a 32-foot boat that later crashed ashore onto Daytona Beach with no one on board Saturday morning, Volusia County Beach Safety officials said. 

>> Read more trending news

Officials have not identified the man, but said he stole the boat from a marina in Daytona Beach and is the only suspect.

Coast Guard officials began searching after the boat when it ran ashore near the Silver Beach entrance of Daytona Beach around 10:30 a.m., beach safety officials said.

The boat was traveling full speed when it came ashore, investigators said. Beach safety officers had to board the boat and turn off the engine. 

"It's very bizarre," said Deanie Davis, a beachgoer. "I've walked this beach too many times and I've never seen a boat float up." 

No one was injured when the boat ran aground, beach safety officials said.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Daytona Beach Fire Department and beach safety officials are investigating the boat crash.

"There's not a whole lot of talk about what's going on so our curiosity is definitely there," said Bruns Powers, beachgoer. 

Man steals van, tries to board plane after jumping on wing

A Florida man stole a van, jumped on a plane’s wing and tried to board the aircraft that was preparing to taxi down a runway, according to police. 

>> Read more trending news

On Tuesday, Gregory A. Hoch, 37, allegedly stole a surveyor’s van after the man got out of it to get his tools, the Lakeland Police Department wrote on Facebook.

After that, Hoch headed straight to the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, where his plan was to “make the pilot take him somewhere,” according to police.

Hoch ran through a business, entered the airfield and gained access to the runway, police said.

Hoch’s plan was soaring high until he came tumbling down.

Just as he was about to open the plane’s door, Lt. Eric Harper from the Lakeland Police Department pulled Hoch back onto the runway.

Surprisingly, nobody was injured during this incident.

Hoch was charged with multiple charges including grand theft and burglary to an occupied conveyance. 

Delivery driver armed with gun, Chinese food thwarts would-be robbers, police say

A Chinese food delivery driver in Jacksonville, Florida, shot at attempted robbery suspects after he was ambushed during a delivery, officers said.

>> Watch the news report here

The victim, a delivery driver for Hot Wok on 103rd Street, said he was delivering an order on West Arancio Drive at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when two men answered the door with a gun.

>> Victims turn tables on home invasion suspect, give him black eye

He said two men in their early 20s pointed a green laser at his face. The laser was coming from the bottom of a barrel on a black semi-automatic pistol, he told police.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

The driver said the men told him to come inside several times.

He tried to turn around and leave and was approached by a third man with a gun, he told officers.

The driver told police he threw the food at the third man, backed away and grabbed a gun from a holster on his waist.

The driver fired four or five shots at the suspects and yelled for neighbors to call 911, according to police.

He held one suspect at gunpoint until police arrived, officer said.

Officers said a short time later, a man reported he had been shot at a different location.

He was arrested in connection with the attempted robbery. Officers are still seeking a third suspect.

The Westside home where the attempted robbery happened is for sale, and neighbors say it’s been empty for months.

>> Read more trending news

“We actually think that they probably were staking it out and, you know, using it as a target,” said a neighbor, identified only as Juan.

Juan and his friends were a few doors down when the attempted robbery happened. They saw the delivery driver go by them down the street. Juan said it was a short time later when they heard the gunfire.

Juan said it was “just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop … pretty much almost like firecrackers.”

Man gets 20 years for possession of child porn after police get national tip 

A 48-year-old Florida man was sentenced to 20 years in prison after authorities said they found over a 100 images of children engaged in sex acts on his computer.

>> Read more trending news

Michael Celentano Jr., of Golden Gate, pleaded no contest to the charges, the Naples Daily News reported.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tipped off Collier County Sheriff’s investigators to the crimes after it discovered pornographic images of children uploaded from the website Tumblr. 

>> Related: Hotel bar ‘furious’ after man steals its severed human toe

Sheriff’s investigators then connected Celentano to the images by the computer’s unique IP address. Celentano was later discovered to have child pornography on two computers inside his home, as well as on DVDs, the Naples Daily News reported.

He was sentenced on Monday.

Read more here.   

Florida woman who let snake bite 1-year-old won't face charges

A Florida woman who intentionally let a snake bite her young daughter to teach her to be afraid of the reptiles will not face child abuse charges, Fox 13 in Tampa reports.

>> RELATED: Florida mom lets snake bite baby to 'teach a lesson'

Chantelle St. Laurent of Sebring posted a video on Facebook earlier this month that showed her 1-year-old being bitten by a snake as the girl reached into a container to touch it. It showed the snake striking and the girl crying.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

"She says she was just trying to teach the child to be afraid of snakes," according to Scott Dressel of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. 

The state attorney’s office announced Tuesday that it would not pursue the case because there was not enough evidence. Several experts viewed the video, and while they "felt that the treatment of the snake and the child were not wise, they did not see any criminal actions," Sheriff Paul Blackman said.

>> Read more trending news

St. Laurent's mother, who claims she conducted the same exercise on her daughter when she was young, told Fox 13 that they chose a non-poisonous snake and that the baby's skin wasn't broken. "There was no harm to the baby," Brenda St. Laurent said. "The baby is fine, a happy, healthy baby."

She said the mother doesn't regret "teaching the child" and neither does she. Her daughter's only regret, she said, is "putting it on Facebook for all these morons."

Bear investigates Florida deputy

A deputy got a close encounter with a bear after getting called out Sunday to check on the animal which was walking along the road.

“We realize that recently we posted a video of one of our deputies encountering a ‘bare’ person, but occasionally, they just encounter bears,” the Marion County Sheriff’s Office wrote with a post of the video on social media

>> Read more trending news

The video shows the curious bear walking toward the deputy and his cruiser near the Ocala National Forest. The deputy opens the door, but the bear decides to end the investigation there.

“We do prefer bear encounters by the way,” officials said.


Father of 9 shot, killed at his own birthday party

A father of nine has died after he was shot at his birthday party at his home in Orange County, Florida, west of Orlando.

>> Read more trending news

Alexis Osmick, 39, was shot around 3 a.m. Sunday and later died at Orlando Regional Hospital, according to local news reports.

Police have a person in custody who is said to be cooperating with investigators.

Neighbors told news outlets that the home in Pine Hills where the shooting occurred is often the scene of parties, but the only problem before has been loud music.

An investigation is underway.

Six 'bovine bandits' arrested, accused of stealing cows, police say

Polk County deputies arrested six men in two separate cases on suspicion of stealing cows from a Lakeland pasture, calling them “bovine bandits.”

In the first case, deputies arrested Jordan Ferguson, 19, Trevar Veltrop, 21, and Dalton Pelham, 22, in connection to the theft of cattle from a pasture in April and later, their sale at auction.

Deputies said the trio stole three black cows, one brown cow and four calves after cutting a hole in the perimeter fence.

Deputies worked a tip and said they found that Pelham had sold all eight cows at the Cattleman’s Livestock in April for $4,000.

>> Read more trending news

When confronted, deputies said the trio confessed to stealing the cows, selling them and pocketing the cash.

In the second case, deputies arrested Bryce Pickle, 18, Leroy Hamilton, 18, and Dakota McClellan, 20, in the theft of three calves from that same pasture—one in April and two in June.

The trio duct-taped the last two calves’ legs and placed them in a pen without food and water, deputies said.

An acquaintance of the group called the police, causing the suspects to undo the duct tape and flee, deputies said.

Deputies said the calves are doing fine. 

Report: 100-pound Florida man climbs through window, steals police car

A Georgia deputy’s patrol car was wrecked Friday night after a suspect, seated in handcuffs in the car’s backseat, managed to steal the vehicle.

Shawn Tippins of Jacksonville, Florida, was stopped by officers at Bedell Avenue and West Fourth Street in Camden County, according to an arrest report from the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. He was suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

>> Read more trending news

The arrest report said the deputy who pulled Tippins over questioned the Florida man and asked him to perform a walk-and-turn test. Tippins wasn’t able to complete the test. He refused to take a breath test to measure his blood alcohol content and the deputy placed him under arrest. 

According to the report, Tippins began yelling at another deputy. Still handcuffed, he was led to the back of the patrol vehicle and placed in the back seat. 

The deputy said he cracked the center divider in the patrol car to allow air conditioning to reach Tippins.

The arrest report said that Tippins, who is 5-foot-2 and 100 pounds, slipped the handcuffs, climbed through the center divider and drove away in the patrol car at a high rate of speed.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

Tippins wrecked multiple cars and caused significant damage to the patrol car he stole, deputies said.

After a chase, Tippins was recaptured and taken to jail.

Tippins faces 19 charges including theft of a police vehicle, improper driving, reckless driving, aggressive driving, and unlawful use of a vehicle.

Churches worldwide take part in bell ringing project to honor Pulse victims

The mothers of those killed in the Pulse nightclub attack last year in Orlando, Florida, asked churches around the globe to ring their bells 49 times on Monday to honor the victims on the one-year anniversary of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

>> Read more trending news

The 49 Bells Project was part of the “Act. Love. Give. Movement,” which also prompted the city to declare June 12 a day of love and kindness.

Hundreds of churches around the world participated, including many in Florida.

>> Related: Photos: Orlando lights up in rainbow colors for Pulse anniversary

"As parents, we don't want our children to be forgotten, and most importantly, we would love the support of spreading love, not hate, as a message for humankind," Mayra Alvear, mother of Pulse victim Amanda Alvear, said. Her daughter was just 25 when she was killed at the club.

Arm yourself, ‘This is War’ Florida sheriff declares after Orlando mass shooting

A Florida sheriff is calling on people to arm themselves in preparation for the next terrorist attack or workplace shooting.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey posted a 4-minute video on Facebook explaining why he believes residents need to carry weapons. The call to arms follows a mass shooting at a company in Orlando that left five people dead. 

>> Read more trending news

“Folks, now more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the first line of defense, not only for them, but for their families when the attack happens,” Ivey said in the video. 

After calling himself “one of the most politically incorrect sheriff’s in the country” he continued urging those who legally can carry a gun to do so. And, he added, if you’re uncomfortable with a gun, carry a Taser. 

The video also shows Ivey criticizing Britain's Run, Hide, and Tell policy that was used in the recent London terrorist attacks, according to news reports.

Ivey said doing nothing to protect yourself is not going to save your life. 

>> Related: Victim stories: Who we lost in Orlando

“This is war, and you better be prepared to wage war to protect you, your family and those around you if attacked,” he said.

Many Twitter users expressed support for his message. 

This isn’t the first time Ivey has urged people to take up arms. In December 2015, following a mass shooting in California, he issued a similar warning.

WATCH: Sinkhole swallows car after heavy rain in Florida

Florida's Ocala Fire Department responded to a sinkhole that swallowed a car in a shopping center parking lot after heavy rain, firefighters said. 

>> Watch the video here

The sinkhole opened up after 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Gaitway Plaza on Southwest College Road.

The sinkhole is about 20 feet by 20 feet and just as deep, firefighters said. 

Seth Wing saw the driver of the car get out of her vehicle once the sinkhole opened. 

>> Read more trending news

"She just walked out of the car; she was shaking," he said. 

The Gaitway Plaza also was evacuated due to a gas leak. 

"We could smell this intense smell of gas, you know natural gas coming out of the ground and they kind of evacuated the whole sidewalk," said Ronny Pagano, who was at the shopping center at the time. 

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

Firefighters were able to secure the gas line. No injuries have been reported.

Ocala firefighters also responded to several flooded vehicles in the parking lot of the Shady Oaks Shopping Center across the street.

State Road 200 was briefly closed due to flash flooding. 

Florida man shoots, kills 12-foot python found wrapped around family's goat

A Florida man shot and killed a 12-foot-6-inch Burmese python last week after finding it wrapped around the body of a one of his family’s missing goats.

>> Read more trending news

Scott Dame, who owns a pest control business, told WTVT that his 10-year-old grandson first found the dead goat on his family’s small farm in Naples. The python had the goat’s head in its mouth, according to the news station.

Graphic video of the encounter was posted to social media by Dame’s granddaughter and later shared by WINK’s Channing Frampton. (Warning: The video may disturb some viewers. Discretion is advised.)

The video showed Dame approaching the snake-wrapped goat and firing multiple shots at it. As the python tries to slither away, Dame steps on the reptile and fires again, killing it.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

It took eight shots to kill the snake. The python managed to kill two goats on the Dame family farm before it was discovered, according to a Facebook post on Dame Pest Solutions Inc. 

"Although I have dealt with a lot of snakes over the years, I never expected this huge exotic snake in my own yard," Dame told WTVT.

Burmese pythons are an invasive species at the top of the food chain in the Everglades. They have no natural predators.

The Palm Beach Post contributed to this report.

Fight over $1 ends with one friend stabbed, another in jail, police say

A disagreement between friends over $1 resulted in a 2-inch-deep stab wound in a Florida man’s left shoulder, according to a police report made public this week.

>> Read more trending news

Cornelius Tymes, 46, was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Police said a friend asked Tymes for a dollar and he refused, telling him to ask his wife instead.

An argument ensued and Tymes threatened to hit his friend in the face, according to the police report. Police said the friend responded by saying, “If you’re a frog, then leap.”

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

Tymes’ friend told police the argument escalated further, and Tymes threatened to stab him.

His friend called his bluff, the report said. Tymes then pulled out a pocketknife and stabbed him.

The stab wound required three staples at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, the report said.

Tymes remained in the Palm Beach County Jail on Friday with his bail set at $50,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned June 20.

Pilot hits alligator while landing plane at Florida airport


Only in Florida: A pilot fatally struck an alligator last week while landing a plane at Orlando Executive Airport.

>> Read more trending news

The pilot said his plane hit the gator, but he wouldn't provide further details because he said the Federal Aviation Administration is still investigating the incident.

Another pilot, Brad Pierce, posted a photo on Facebook, calling the incident "one of the craziest things I've ever seen in all my years in aviation."

Pierce said in the post, which had been shared almost 2,000 times by Wednesday morning, that a pilot was crossing a runway when an 11-foot gator jumped up and struck the wing of his Navajo as he was landing.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

"The gator was killed instantly and the aircraft sustained damage to the wing," Pierce said.

The airport is bordered by Lake Underhill and Lake Barton.

VIDEO: Florida mom lets snake bite baby to 'teach a lesson'

A Highlands County, Florida, mother is under fire after posting a video to Facebook that shows a rat snake biting her 1-year-old daughter. 

>> Watch the news report here

The mother said that she has “no regrets” after she let the snake intentionally bite the child several times, WFTS reports. 

"It had bitten me and my son and didn't leave a mark, several times," she said to WFTS. "So, I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce her without actually getting hurt."

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

The Facebook video has been removed and the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, according to WFTS. 

In the video the mother holds up a container with a rat snake inside and lets her daughter reach toward the snake. You can hear the daughter flinch and cry each time the snake strikes her. 

>> Read more trending news

The mother said her daughter was not hurt because the snake has teeth “too small to actually puncture the skin,” WFTS reports. Her intention was to teach her child a “valuable lesson” on how to handle reptiles, she said to WFTS. 

Read more here.

Florida mom gives birth to 13-pound baby; see the photos

As Christine Corbitt quickly approached her due date, her stomach was undeniable.

>> Watch the news report here

“Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was like, 'Oh my gosh. She’s just so huge,'" Corbitt said.

>> On PHOTOS: Orange Park mom gives birth to 13-pound baby girl

Indeed, Carleigh Brooke Corbitt was huge. At 13 pounds, 5 ounces, she was the largest newborn Dr. Eric Edelenbos has ever delivered.

“When the baby was coming out, I was like, 'Is this baby ever going to end?' Everybody in the room kind of just stopped during the delivery and was like, 'Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh,'” he said.

>> Read more trending news

We were there as mom and baby went for their three-week checkup. Carleigh was decked out in pink and white and didn't fuss a bit. She’s clearly happy and healthy, but struggled with gestational diabetes early on.

“I’ve had nine and 10-pound babies and I figured maybe she'd be 10 pounds. I’d have another 10-pound baby, but she was a surprise,” Corbitt said.

Carleigh had to stay in the NICU for a bit while her blood sugar levels were checked and she got the all-clear. The Corbitts say a number of media outlets have contacted them about Carleigh's large entry into the world, but ActionNewsJax officially gave her her TV debut.

As for Christine, she plans on taking some much-needed rest – for good this time.

“I’m done. I’m done. No more babies for me,” she said with a smile.

Sister of missing woman lost at sea accuses husband in disappearance

As a Boca Raton police officer watched, one of Isabella Hellman’s sisters called Lewis Bennett her killer.

“Eventually, Lewis and I decided that it was best that he leave,” Boca Raton Officer J.P. Cohen wrote in a report about the standoff between Bennett and his missing wife’s family a week ago. Bennett left without incident.

>> Read more trending news

The scene was the latest development in the missing-at-sea case involving Hellmann, Bennett’s wife of three months and the mother of their 9-month-old daughter, which has spanned parts of the Caribbean to Australia, and has drawn world attention. The person at its center is nowhere to be found.

Bennett, 40, a dual British-Australian citizen, has said the last time he saw Hellman, the suburban Delray Beach couple had just sailed from Cuba at about 5:30 p.m. May 14. They were in the final days of a weeks-long Caribbean trip.

Bennett has told authorities he went below deck on their 37-foot catamaran at about 8 p.m. and was jolted awake around 1 a.m. May 15 by the vessel striking something. He said he came topside to find Hellmann gone and the boat taking on water about 30 miles west of Cay Sal in The Bahamas. Bennett was rescued, but after a four-day search, Hellmann was still unaccounted for.

Police said that after Sunday’s incident, the officer reached out to a federal contact to advise him on the incident and learned of a federal investigation into the disappearance of Hellmann, a 41-year-old real-estate broker.

>> Related: Missing woman lost at sea still puzzling authorities, husband questioned in disappearance

The Coast Guard and the FBI have confirmed they are jointly conducting a “missing person investigation” into the disappearance. But neither agency has said specifically that it is targeting Bennett or even that it is investigating the possibility of foul play.

Neither Bennett nor Hellmann’s family has responded to numerous inquiries for comment.

Read more here.

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