5 Weird and Wacky Crimes Committed in Tampa Bay

December 11, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Beautiful beaches, Busch Gardens, Cigar City Brewing — no matter whether you’re looking for fun in the sun, thrills and chills, or beers and cheers, Tampa Bay has a place that caters to your preferences.

Oh, but wait. The Tampa Bay area also has a dark side that borders on the weird and wacky.

Need proof? Check out these five crazy criminals. 

Making it Rain for the Bail Bondsman

Brandi Jo Roman, a 29-year-old mother of two, wanted to spend her Tuesday night relaxing inside the infamous Tampa strip club Mons Venus while sipping on a cold one. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, unfortunately for Roman, she couldn’t find a babysitter and left her 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son watching a movie in her pickup truck in the parking lot. A concerned citizen ruined Roman’s buzz by calling the cops. They arrested her on child neglect charges.

The Literal Definition of a Banana Split

If you’re familiar with Tampa Bay, you’ve likely heard a rumor or two about how Pasco County’s citizens get down – and this story doesn’t do anything to prove those rumors wrong. When 36-year-old Joseph Smolinsky’s live-in girlfriend frantically called the cops accusing him of assaulting her, they didn’t expect to arrive on the scene to parts of a banana peel on the floor next to a victim with a slightly red cheek. In addition to throwing a banana at his girlfriend’s face, Smolinsky resisted arrested.

Arthritis: Bad for Bones, Good for Defense Testimony  

The Trayvon Martin trial raised many questions and concerns about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. In addition to George Zimmerman being acquitted of murder, countless other Floridians have walked free because of the law. Pasco County resident Antony Boglino is one of them. The 64-year-old said he felt threatened during an argument with Haigh Frank Kopain, 36. He shot his gun and wounded Kopain, claiming he felt threatened and that his arthritis prevented him from defending himself another way.

CATching a Case

Cats like to run and jump around, finding themselves in a bit of trouble sometimes. But punishing them for it isn’t just wrong, it’s abusive and illegal. Giovanni Estrada, 19, turned an ordinary animal carrier into a prison for Mittens the Cat. The carrier was eventually found floating in Tampa’s McKay Bay with Mittens still in it, having suffered 30 gunshot wounds from a BB gun. Miraculously, Mittens survived after being rescued and Estrada is now in prison. How’s that for karma and justice? Knowing your rights about whether you can take somebody to court like this is important, visiting a site like LP Guerra has articles that can clarify your rights on certain issues.

Sleeping on the Job 

James Holder, 27, had a busy night burglarizing cars — so busy that he fell asleep in a minivan he had broken into. With 21 prior arrests on his record, it’s obvious that Holder has no regard for the law. Hey, a man’s got to get his sleep, right? Fortunately, for everyone else in society, he’ll be getting plenty of it on a bunk at the county jail. According to the news story, he’s the perfect example of the justice system not being tough enough when it comes to repeated offenders. Maybe his 22nd offense will finally wake the judge up, eh? 

Florida is home to many weird and wacky criminals. So much as that more people in the state are aspiring to earn a bachelor’s in criminology so they can lock away these morons for good.