Florida Man Report – June 21

June 21 – Animal Cruelty Charges Filed Against Florida Man Who Threw Kittens From SUV

After being detained and released by deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, a Florida man was ultimately arrested and charged with two counts of animal cruelty for tossing two kittens from a sport utility vehicle while driving north on the US-1 Overseas Highway in Key Largo. Diego Torres Ruiz, a 29-year-old resident of Islamorada was initially released because the deputies could not find the kitten; one was later found dead on the road, but the other was found, rescued, and adopted by a kind employee of the Rain Barrel Village tourist attraction.

The incident was reported by a witness who saw Torres throwing two kittens from the driver’s side window of a Hyundai Santa Cruz near Mile Marker 87 in Tavernier Key. According to a report from CBS Miami, other drivers saw Torres tossing the kittens, and they had to swerve on the highway to avoid running them over. Another witness provided the license plate number, so the deputies tracked him down and made a traffic stop to question him. The scope of the traffic cameras near the intersection where the kittens were thrown did not extend to capture the incident, and Torres denied being involved, so he was released.

A kitten that survived was found with minor injuries by the same witness who initially reported the incident; it was taken to Whiskers & Paws, an animal clinic in Key Largo, and later to MarrVelous Pet Rescues. Once the deputies located both kittens, they proceeded to find Torres and arrest him. Since the incident occurred just a few days before Christmas, the witness who found the kitten decided to adopt it.

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June 21 – Daring Toothbrush Heist Ends With Florida Man Arrested For Larceny

Criminal activity in the Sunshine State tends to get increasingly stranger the further south you drive. By the time you enter the Overseas Highway connecting the southern tip of the peninsula with the Florida Keys, the neo-noir “Florida man” phenomenon begins to include the theft of expensive toothbrushes that were later thrown into the Atlantic Ocean.

Tracy Jay Mofield, a 37-year-old resident of Islamorada, was arrested by deputies of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office after clerks from a Walgreens drugstore accused him of walking out with more than $1,000 worth of toothbrushes. According to a Facebook update posted by the Sheriff’s Office, Mofield entered a Walgreens location in Marathon Key and stole six high-end electric toothbrushes. The loot worth $1,375 works out to about $230 per toothbrush, suggesting that the stolen items may have been similar to the Oral-B iO Series 9 carried by Walgreens, a device with artificial intelligence that connects to the Internet of Things.

Mofield rushed out of the drugstore, got into a white Lexus sedan, and peeled off towards Conch Key. As he was driving across the Long Key Bridge connecting Conch Key with Long Key, he became paranoid at the thought of being followed by undercover police cars, so he decided to ditch the loot. When he was later arrested at his home in Islamorada, Mofield confessed to throwing all the toothbrushes off the bridge, and this was confirmed by traffic control cameras. Although the arrest report mentions larceny, it is important to note that legislation signed by Governor Ron DeSantis to increase penalties for retail theft eliminated the term as such, so Chapter 812 of the Florida Statutes has been renamed to “Theft, Robbery, and Related Crimes,” and it uses updated terminology.