Florida may be part of the United States and extremely close to Cuba, but it may as well be in another planet. Florida has some of the wildest stories known to mankind, prompting many news headlines where the subject of a bizarre tale is simply referred to as “Florida man.” There have been countless incidents of a “Florida man” capturing headlines, but these five news stories really take the cake.
Chick-fil-A isn’t typically a place where criminal activity goes down, but anything goes in Florida. In 2018, a man named Cory Hatzl made his way to the fast food chicken restaurant and stripped off of his clothes in the parking lot, and started to chase around two customers. Police were quickly called to the scene, and they tried to detain Hatzl, but he wasn’t ready to go down without a chase.
Police went after Hatzl as he scampered nude around the parking lot. During the altercation, Hatzl told anyone that laid eyes on him that they were “gay” for looking in his direction. Hatzl was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and his bail was set to $1,000. All of this happened on a Monday, too.
One of the biggest fears for a lottery player is thinking that you won something on a ticket only for a cashier to tell you that the ticket is a loser. That’s what happened when a Florida man was at a Winn-Dixie Liquor store in Fort Myers. However, the man wasn’t just any lottery player and was working undercover for the Florida Lottery Commission to bust cashiers who were pulling this very scam.
The undercover cop walked into the store with a $600 winning ticket, but cashier Crystelle Yvette Baton told him that he only won $5. The man walked out pretending to be dejected, but in a matter of seconds, she was arrested for the scam. Baton was fired from Winn-Dixie and her bail was set at $5,000. The Florida Lottery Commission said that another trick was to pretend to throw the ticket away after telling a customer that they didn’t win anything.
There are a lot of people in Florida that have exotic animals, but having a large flightless bird like a Cassowary is pretty rare. The birds that are native to the Oceania region of the world aren’t popular pets but don’t tell that to the late Marvin Hajos. On Hajos’s farm in Gainesville, he had several wild animals including a Cassowary, but one day the bird fought his owner.
The altercation between the bird and Hajos ended up costing the farm owner his life. The Cassowary was not charged in the incident. As for Hajos, his girlfriend said that he died doing what he loved the most, and left it at that.
Bagels for Gators
While most of us prefer to feed animals like ducks while sitting on a bench in the park, things are much different in Florida. In 2019, 67-year-old Paul Fortin was arrested because he was illegally feeding, you guessed it, an alligator. Fortin would often feed the alligator bagels while patting the animal on the head.
“He’s a good boy,” Fortin said. “He lets me pet him…He just sits there and he loves bagels. He was such a good friend.” Fortin refused to be arrested as he didn’t realize feeding the alligator was illegal and compared himself to Dr. Doolittle. Thankfully for Fortin, he didn’t receive any significant charges but was told to stop feeding the gator.
Every time there’s a president, you can bank on half of the country not being a fan of him. In Florida, one man really isn’t fond of Joe Biden. Jacob Philbeck was arrested in 2022 after the 29-year-old repeatedly called 911 to suggest that Biden be arrested and that druglord Joaquin Guzman (a.k.a. El Chapo) be set free.
It was in the early hours of the morning that Philbeck called 911 repeatedly with his requests, and eventually, police responded to his home to put a stop to his constant calling. Philbeck was arrested and posted a $150 bond. While police say alcohol “may” have been involved, you can probably guess that it was.