KISSIMMEE — An Orlando mother was arrested after disembarking from a cruise ship, mistaken for a suspected prostitute wanted in central Florida.
Thirty-one-year-old Paola Londono spent more than 36 hours in a South Florida jail before her attorney could persuade a judge to let her out. She had been mistaken for a woman with the same name, but who was seven years younger, five inches taller and looked completely different.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says dispatchers relied on incorrect information when Broward County investigators called to confirm they had the right suspect.
Londono was returning from a Caribbean cruise with her family, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
The real suspect faces charges of prostitution, child abuse and possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia.
Man charged with throwing object at school bus
LAND O’ LAKES — A Pasco County man upset about a school bus traveling too fast through his neighborhood reportedly threw a heavy metal object at the vehicle.
The sheriff’s office reports that 66-year-old David Kilpatrick tossed the object Tuesday, smashing the bus’s windshield. More than 50 students and the bus driver were on board, but no injuries were reported.
Kilpatrick told investigators that the bus was traveling too fast in his neighborhood. He wanted the bus to stop so he could talk to the bus driver.
Kilpatrick was arrested and charged with throwing a deadly missile and criminal mischief. He was released Wednesday on $10,150 bail.
Authorities didn’t say what the thrown object was.
Fla. man steals coin worth $9,000, sells for $167
VERO BEACH — A rare 18th century coin worth $9,000 was stolen in Vero Beach — but not for long.
Police say 27-year-old Christopher William Saunders stole it from a coin shop Tuesday after knocking over a book full of coins — including the rare 1752 piece from a Spanish treasure ship.
But police say Saunders underestimated his find. He allegedly sold it for $167 to a nearby antique store owner, who also wasn’t sure of the coin’s worth.
So the antique dealer took it to someone who would: The man who owned the coin shop where it was originally stolen.
At first, the coin store proprietor didn’t realize the item was his. It wasn’t until he turned to his own collection to compare the coin he realized he was robbed.
Suspicious stuffed pony blown up outside school
ORLANDO — Authorities blew up a stuffed pony — determined to be a “suspicious device” — after it was found outside a central Florida school.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office reports that the toy was found near the Waterbridge Elementary School Tuesday morning.
No one was allowed in or out of the building while bomb disposal experts destroyed the stuffed animal. It was ultimately deemed “non-threatening.”
No injuries were reported.
Undersheriff demoted after son’s arrest, release
FORT WALTON BEACH — A Panhandle sheriff has demoted his undersheriff after the man requested and received an unusual late-night hearing to secure his son’s quick release from jail on a misdemeanor battery warrant.
The Northwest Florida Daily News reported that Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson demoted Bill Chapman to major after Chapman arranged the 11 p.m. first-appearance hearing for Greg Chapman earlier this month.
Chapman wrote a letter to sheriff’s office employees apologizing for allowing a personal issue to interfere with is judgment.
Fla. race drops Che Guevara image after outcry
WEST PALM BEACH — Organizers of an irreverent Florida auto race that used Che Guevara’s image in its logo have dropped the Cuban revolutionary from promotional materials after public outcry.
They’re also changing the title from the previous “24 Hours of Cuba of the North.”
The December event at Palm Beach International Raceway is part of a national, tongue-in-cheek racing circuit whose entries cost less than $500. Most have zany names and emblems — like the “Southern Discomfort 2010” in South Carolina, whose logo features a cartoon hillbilly.
For many in Florida’s native Cuban community, the image of Guevara with racing goggles around his neck crossed the boundary of good taste.
Raceway officials told The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday they were working with race organizers on a new name and emblem.
2 Fla. youths mull plea deal in horse slaughters
MIAMI — Two South Florida youths accused of slaughtering horses have until Oct. 15 to decide if they’ll accept a plea agreement or take the case to trial.
Twenty-year-old Santiago Cabrera and 19-year-old Luis Cordero face several felony charges, including armed burglary, grand theft and killing a registered breed horse. They face life imprisonment if they fight the charges and lose, or 5 years in prison under the plea agreement offered Tuesday.
Prosecutors say they broke into two farms last summer, slit the throats of two horses and hacked off the animals’ flesh while they were still alive.
Several animal activists gathered outside the courthouse Tuesday called for stiff sentences, The Miami Herald reported.
Horse meat is illegal to sell, but authorities believe there’s a thriving black market.
Suspect, police dog killed after robbery
FORT MYERS — An armed robbery at a Fort Myers McDonald’s left a suspect and a police dog dead.
Police say a drive-thru customer called 911 Tuesday evening after seeing two men holding up the store.
When police arrived, one officer and his K9 partner Roscoe chased 17-year-old Kamyn Jodeci William Bright, who turned and shot the dog. The officer continued the chase and fatally shot Bright.
Police say another suspect, 30-year-old Gilberto Amaya, fled in a car, hitting a K9 named Axe. Officers reportedly chased Amaya to Lehigh Acres, where he crashed.
Amaya and 21-year-old Leandro Fermin, a McDonald’s employee who reportedly confessed to helping with the robbery, face multiple felony charges.
Roscoe died on the way to an animal hospital, but Axe was recovering.
Man gets 22 years for fatal shooting
SANFORD — A central Florida man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for fatally shooting another man a day after a dispute.
Anthony Holley Jr. pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday. The 23-year-old was sentenced immediately after that.
Authorities say Holley, 20-year-old Anterious Thornton and other were involved in a fight with 23-year-old Kelsey Andre Poitier and his friends in the parking lot of Sanford convenience store. The next day, Holley and Thornton found Poitier and shot at him while he was sitting in a car. Holley fired the fatal bullet.
Cockfighting operation discovered in Lee County
FORT MYERS — More than 600 fighting roosters were found at two southwest Florida properties in what authorities say was a cockfighting operation.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is removing the roosters and collecting forensic evidence after Lee County officials executed a search warrant Tuesday.
The eight-month long investigation resulted in the arrests of 37-year-old Pedro Lopez and 54-year-old William Roman. Both face various charges related to fighting, and Lopez faces additional drug charges.
The roosters had been housed in elevated cages, inside wire fencing and in barns. The ASPCA says birds commonly suffer from injuries including punctured lungs, broken bones and pierced eyes.
2 charged with trying to obtain stolen weapons
MIAMI — Two men are facing federal charges in Miami of attempting to obtain hundreds of military automatic weapons such as M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles.
An FBI affidavit released Tuesday shows that the weapons were to be shipped to the Middle East. Charged with conspiracy to obtain stolen firearms are 23-year-old Abdalaziz Aziz Hamayel, of the Palestinian West Bank, and 24-year-old Yanny Aguila Urbay of Hialeah.
Federal prosecutors say the pair sought to obtain 300 automatic weapons as well as silencers, grenades and explosives detonators. They were working with undercover law enforcement officials posing as stolen weapons brokers.
The charges carry maximums of five years in prison. Court records did not list attorneys for the men Tuesday.
— Herald wire reports