Florida Man Headlines – June 20

June 20 – Florida Man Left Debit Card at Gas Station He Broke Into

There’s a trope in crime fiction involving cat burglars and sophisticated thieves who leave calling cards at the scenes of their crimes. In French pulp fiction, for example, Arsène Lupin is a gentleman thief who leaves behind cards with a stylized drawing of a monocled face; this is done to taunt detectives who will never catch him despite their best investigative efforts. A strange version of this trope involving a Florida man happened in Palm Coast, but he left behind a debit card that police officers used to arrest him.

On a Sunday morning, the manager of a gas station in Palm Coast, a sleepy town located between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, noticed that the front door of the shop was unlocked. Lantz Kurtz, a 20-year-old resident of Flagler County, entered the store after climbing over a rear fence and breaking the lock of a back door; he then helped himself to four items: Antifreeze, dog food, a disposable nicotine vaporizer, and a pack of cigarillos, which he calmly grabbed before unlocking the front door and walking out. When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found a debit card with the suspect’s name near the cash register, and then they recognized him while reviewing video from the security camera.

Kurtz was driving around Palm Coast on Saturday night when his car malfunctioned and caught on fire. The deputies who responded to that call were still on duty when they responded to the break-in a few hours later, they spotted him again on the surveillance footage, and then they drove back to the spot where he left his burned-out car. After his arrest, Kurtz claimed to have left the debit card on purpose because he planned to return and pay for the stolen products.

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June 20 – Florida Man Posed as Police Officer to Steal Jewelry From Elderly Victim

A 52-year-old Florida man from Kissimmee was charged with false imprisonment, robbery, and impersonating a police officer after pulling a ruse on an older gentleman. According to the arrest affidavit and incident report drafted by deputies from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department, James Troy Davis posed as an undercover officer to intimidate and persuade an elderly driver to hand over jewelry pieces valued at more than $30,000.

The victim statement in this case explains that an elderly man pulled into a 7-11 gas station to refuel his car when he was approached by Davis, who immediately introduced himself as a helpful Florida policeman. Davis told the man that should not be driving because he looked exhausted; to this effect, he ordered the driver to park his car in front of the convenience store after helping him fill up the tank. It was at that point when Davis got into his truck and parked behind the elderly man while flashing blue lights from a bar installed on the front grille.

Davis pointed at the jewelry the man was wearing and claimed that it matched the description of pieces that had been reported stolen, so he demanded them under threat of arrest. The scared victim turned over a bracelet, necklace, and two gold rings with precious stones. Davis used his smartphone to take a photo of the jewelry pieces, and then he told the man that he had to drive to the precinct, compare the items with investigation reports, and return in an hour if they did not match.

The deputies who responded tracked Davis down easily; his license plates were captured by the security cameras, the address on the vehicle registration was his mobile home in Kissimmee, and he had a rap sheet with previous arrests related to jewelry theft.