Florida Man Stories – June 23

June 23 – Homeless Florida Man Steals Construction Forklift and Joyrides to the Beach

Randy Wealand, a 56-year-old Florida man from Volusia County was arrested by deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office after he took a JLG telehandler, also known as a lull forklift, from a construction site north of Beverly Beach. According to the incident report, Wealand drove the lull along the A1A coastal highway for more than two miles south to Beverly Beach, knocking down mailboxes, fire hydrants, and a fiber optic cable switch for the local Charter Communications node.

When the deputies responded to reports of a man operating heavy machinery and hitting everything down A1A, they found Wealand driving the forklift like a beach buggy on the sand. When asked where he had obtained the lull, Wealand said he had rented it, and that he did not see the point of driving it along the sidewalk when it would be faster on the highway. Wealand’s last known address was in Volusia County, but he lost his job and later his home; he arrived in Flagler County looking for work, and he tried the job-hunting method of showing up at construction sites.

In a statement made by Sheriff Rick Staley of Flagler County, he thanked the residents who quickly called 911 to report the incident, which caused more than $10,000 of damage to public and private property. Wealand also cut off broadband internet and cable television service to dozens of homes and commercial establishments in the Beverly Beach area; he was arrested on charges of grand theft, trespassing, and felony mischief. According to a report issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Wealand’s rap sheet extends to Pennsylvania, where he has been convicted of assault, robbery, and theft.

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June 23 – “Sir, This is a Wendy’s:” Florida Man Arrested After Climbing Drive-Through Window During Fast-Food Robbery

After two months on the run, Randall T. Atwell was arrested by officers from the Orlando Police Department (OPD) for a robbery in the Windhover district, and he was tracked down thanks to video clips of the incident going viral across social networks. The clips were made by social media users after OPD detectives posted a longer version on Facebook. The original showed Atwell pulling up to the drive-through window of a Wendy’s restaurant before pulling a gun on the cashier and subsequently climbing through the window.

Atwell patiently waited inside his car while placing an order for a Wendy’s Breakfast Baconator before 8:00 AM. According to OPD updates on Facebook, Atwell kept his patience when he advanced to the drive-through window and pointed a pistol at the female cashier, but he lost it after the Wendy’s employee screamed and ran to find a hiding spot in the back of the kitchen. At this point, Atwell summoned his Florida man powers and somehow squirmed through his car window and into the drive-through window; he then reversed the squirming motion with great flexibility as he got back into his black Nissan Altima.

Many “Florida man” memes were made from the OPD video, many of which feature variations on the “Sir, this is a Wendy’s” punchline that has been around since 2010, but which members of Generation Z have thoroughly embraced. Some of the memes are video edits that feature a stereotypically sardonic Gen Z fast-food worker beginning to say “Sir, this is a…” before screaming in horror and running away.

In the end, the videos going viral helped the Violent Crimes and Crime Scene Investigators units of OPD identify and arrest Atwell, who was charged with one count of armed robbery. It should be noted that while Atwell was masked at the drive-through window, other cameras captured him without a mask on as he arrived.