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Five Best July 4th Florida Arrests

Five Best July 4th Florida Arrests
Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr cc

Ah, the Fourth of July. Fireworks, hot dogs, family, and 'MERICA, dammit. It's fun. But if you're in Florida, it's also dangerous. Down here, we look for illegal fireworks (that would be anything that flies through the air or explodes), and often we have too much fun take shit too far and run afoul of the law.

So before you and your uncle throw back a few cold ones and drive your lawnmower through the city, sparklers dangling from your mouth, read this list. And don't, for the love of LeBron, replicate any of these antics on Friday.

Here are your top five weird Fourth of July Florida arrests.

Enjoy the holiday, folks.

No. 5: Florida man is arrested for telling cops he's carrying drugs -- while an American flag is painted on his face.

Eric Butkiewicz, 31, was at LIV at the Fontainebleau Hotel on the 2012 holiday with his face plastered in our flag. According to the report, he told police: "I possibly have three Xanax bars in my possession." After police discovered 13 of the pills in his front pocket, he was booked on felony possession of a controlled substance.

At the time, the Daily Mail reported that his About Me section on Facebook looked like this: 'eat gym eat sleep, repoeman [sic], hustler, salesman, model.' The Daily Mail also reported Butkiewicz has numerous priors in Florida -- dealing marijuana, grand theft auto, cocaine trafficking, and domestic battery.

No. 4: Drunken man arrested for driving lawnmower through city

Last year, 53-year-old Marion Burden was seen driving a motorized lawnmower on the road. His driver's license was suspended at the time. It was 6:30 p.m. An officer approached and informed Burden that what he was doing was illegal and asked if he had been drinking. "Of course," Burden replied, saying he'd just finished a "four-pack of Tall Pauls."

He provided two breath samples, registered at .268 and .261 -- three times the legal limit of .08.

No. 3: 72-year-old man attacks wheelchair-bound neighbor and threatens others with gasoline

Richard Rice from Naples was in a neighborhood last holiday filled with fireworks and children. This apparently enraged the 72-year-old enough to walk up to a group of families with a container of gasoline and pronounce: "Party's over." He allegedly threatened to pour gas over the entire street and burst it with the children there.

A wheelchair-bound neighbor named Michael Jones tried to corral him, but Rice flipped him over and began pouring gas on him before police finally arrived. He told them he did it all because the fireworks were disrupting his dogs.

No. 2: Two Florida pilots booked after leading a helicopter and Air Force jet chase through the sky

Andre Morais and Daniel Oliveira, both employees of a South Florida aerial advertising company, were spotted by a police helicopter flying like crazy men. The report says they flew "dangerously close to a beach, a bridge, a cruise ship and a police helicopter" before being stopped.

The pilots also didn't have their radar transponders on and didn't make contact with air traffic controllers, as they're required to do. After six hours of questioning, authorities determined they weren't terrorists.

No. 1: A beach fight with a broken bottle, a golf cart, and a drunk 22-year-old

Last year, police responded to a fight at Holmes Beach on Anna Marie Island and arrived to find Vincent Gangi berating a man near a golf cart. Witnesses told police that Gangi hit someone in the back of the head with a glass bottle and that it broke and shattered into the face of another man, requiring stitches.

Witnesses also said Gangi started the whole thing.

You can follow Ryan Cortes on Twitter.




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