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News Story
Updated: 05/24/2014 11:33:15PM

Man tasered by witness before being arrested

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Rhonda Branch

Antonio Allen

Zachary Malvasia

PHOTO PROVIDED

This is what was left of the Mustang from the wreck that occurred on U.S. 301 Tuesday.

Kenneth Robert Crisp

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A 28-year-old man was tasered and arrested by a Polk County Sheriff’s deputy who was a witness after the suspect wouldn’t stop beating on a window at a house on Pearl Street, the Bartow Police Department reports.

Robert White, 28, of 780 W. Davidson St., Lot 11, Bartow, was charged with attempted burglary, possession of drugs and possession of paraphernalia on May 13, police reported.

At 9:15 p.m. police were dispatched to Pearl Street where White had jumped over a six-foot fence and started to pound on a window on the southeast side of the house, police reported.

The victim, Deputy Matthew Cromartie, was outside and gave White several verbal commands to lie on the ground. White did not comply and started to run away by jumping over another privacy fence into another back yard.

After being given several more demands to stop and get on the ground, Cromartie tasered him until the Bartow police arrived.

Once they were on the scene he was charged and then searched. He was found with an aluminum bag of methamphetamine, and a pocket knife in his front pocket, police reported.

Alabama man charged for dirty texts to minor

On Saturday, May 17, Kenneth Robert Crisp, 56, of 247 County Road 463, Muscadine, Ala., was arrested on a Polk County warrant for three counts transmission of material harmful to a minor, after an 11-year-old Lakeland girl’s mother reported she found sexually explicit text and voicemail messages from Crisp to her daughter.

According to the affidavit, Crisp is a friend of the girl’s family, and he is currently living with his family in Alabama.

On May 16, the victim’s mother contacted the sheriff’s office after finding suspicious texts and voicemails on her daughter’s phone from “Bobby,” which is Crisp’s nickname.

The girl told her mother she has been talking to Bobby Crisp for the past couple of months, and that he had asked for her phone number so that he could get in touch with their family if he needed to do so.

During a forensic examination of the girl’s phone, detectives located hundreds of text messages from Crisp, from April 27 to May 3, and MMS messages during the same time frame.

Not only were the messages sexually explicit, he also sent messages and left voicemails telling the girl to delete the messages and that he didn’t want her mom to find out, police reported.

He called the girl “hottie” and “sweetie,” and told her “love ya, miss ya,” police reported. He told her he wanted to have a baby. He asked her on several occasions to send him naked or semi-naked photos of herself, according to reports.

He asked her if she wanted him to send her naked photos of himself. He told her she was “the only thing that keeps him going.”

Crisp is aware that the victim is only 11 years old, police reported.

On May 16, detectives got a warrant for Crisp’s arrest on the aforementioned charges. He was taken into custody in Muscadine, Ala., the following day and was booked into the Cleburne County Jail. He will be held there until he is extradited to Polk County.

Man charged with trying to steal air conditioner

A 67-year-old was charged with grand theft on May 13 for allegedly stealing a prybar, hacksaw, flat-head screwdriver and a pair of gloves, the Bartow Police Department reported.

Police were dispatched to 1910 Tripaul Court where a theft of an air conditioner was in progress, it reported. Lt. Gary McLin found the defendant with a cut copper pipe and a wire. McLin ordered Archie Lee Broome to drop the property and he spontaneously said, “I got them from the houses over there. They have been empty for a year,” the report said. Broome motioned toward the houses.

He was arrested and taken to the Bartow Police Department.

After being read his rights, Broome said an unknown person he identified as the maintenance person for the properties, gave him permission to to remove any parts or materials from the air conditioners.

The damage to the air conditioning unit was about $1,000, police reported. When he was booked, Lt. McLin noticed he also had the equipment described earlier on him, police reported.

Woman injured in wreck

A Lakeland woman suffered serious injures in a car wreck on U.S. 301 Tuesday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Randall Maggard, 50, of Zephyrhills was driving on U.S. 301 near the Hillsborough River State Park when a Mustang being driven by Melinda Principio, 55, of Lakeland, was going north on U.S. 301 ahead of Maggard.

A third vehicle – a Ford F150 – being driven by John Creamer, 75, of Plant City, was heading south on U.S. 301 approaching Dead River Road. His truck was pulling farm equipment.

Principio, who was driving with her 11-year-old granddaughter Mallorie Pastor, slowed to make a left into a driveway and Maggard failed to slow or stop, the Florida Highway reported. Maggard, in a GMC Sierra, collided into the rear of the Mustang and the impact sent it into the path of the pickup truck. Those vehicles collided nearly head on and both were sent clockwise and came to a final rest north on the shoulder, FHP reported.

The crash closed both directions of U.S. 301 for more than an hour. All occupants were taken to area hospitals where all were treated and released except for Principio, who was reported to be in serious condition, FHP reported. She was later upgraded to stable, FHP reports.

He couldn’t escape the law

A man carrying a weed-eater outran the police for a little while before he was arrested for resisting an officer without violence on May 11, the Bartow Police Department reported.

Thomas L. Williams, 49, of 850 Shady Lane, Bartow, was described to police at about 10 p.m. as someone who was riding around a trailer park on Georgia Street wearing a black shirt and dark red shorts.

Upon getting to the area, Officer Jose Joglar recognized him from previous encounters, he reported. He said Williams was holding a weed eater in his hand.

Joglar got out his patrol car, called him by name and asked what he had in his hand. He then dropped the weed eater and ran south between the trailers. Joglar ran after him identifying himself as the police and he should stop, but Williams disappeared, the police reported.

Joglar spoke with a person at the trailer park and he said Williams was trying to sell him the weed eater for $30. Joglar then impounded the weed eater.

At 11:23 p.m. Joglar, while patroling, found Williams and notes he was wearing the same clothing from the report and that he saw him wearing an hour earlier. According to reports, he was arrested and after being read his rights, he said, “I just came from the store. I don’t know where Georgia Street is.”

Woman, boyfriend accused of smoking dope with baby outside

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 21 deputies arrested Rhonda Branch, 25, and her boyfriend, Antonio Allen, 26, both of 2103 Reynolds Road in Lakeland, when their neighbors called to report a 3-year-old toddler was locked out of the residence for more than an hour, and was outside crying.

“Rhonda Branch is certainly no ‘Woman Of The Year’ candidate — she and her boyfriend sat in their house, smoked pot and inhaled nitrous oxide, and completely neglected a helpless 3-year-old baby boy for whom they were responsible. They are the perfect example of why using illegal drugs is harmful, and should continue to be illegal,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said.

According to their affidavits the young child was crying and banging on the doors and windows of the home trying to get someone to let him inside. Neighbors said it appeared the child had been locked out of the house for more than an hour. The neighbors called the sheriff’s office and cared for the small child until deputies arrived. When deputies arrived, they banged on the doors and windows for about 10-15 minutes before getting a response.

Branch and Allen finally opened the door and a cloud of smoke billowed out that smelled like marijuana. The pair admitted to smoking marijuana and ingesting “whip it” (whipped cream nitrous oxide canisters). Both marijuana, paraphernalia, and the nitrous oxide canisters were easily located in the house, police reported.

Branch and Allen admitted to using the drugs “all morning” and then going into their bedroom to take a nap, and that neither was supervising the small child, police reported. They told deputies that “marijuana should be legal anyways” and that is why they smoke it all the time, police reported. Neither of the adults were aware the toddler was locked outside, they told police. Branch admitted he has gotten out of the house twice before in the past two weeks.

Branch and Allen were both placed under arrest and booked into the Polk County Jail for one count child neglect, one count of possession of marijuana, one count of inhaling harmful chemicals, one count of maintaining a home for drug use and one count of possession of paraphernalia.

Branch has no prior arrests in Polk County. Allen has been in the Polk County Jail on four prior occasions, for armed trafficking, possession of marijuana, carrying a concealed firearm, aggravated domestic battery on a pregnant victim, and violation of parole. In 2008 he was sentenced to five years in state prison for the trafficking and weapons charges. He was released in August 2013.

Student charged for putting hand sanitizer in teacher’s water

A 14-year-old Crystal Lake Middle School student was charged with food poisoning a teacher, the Wednesday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Zachary Malvasia, 14, of Lakeland, is accused of putting hand sanitizer in his teacher’s water, a sheriff’s office report said.

On Tuesday morning, Ana Morejon, a teacher at the school, stepped outside of her classroom to discuss a matter with the dean of students. While she was outside in the hallway, the students inside the classroom got out of their seats and lined up to get ready to head to lunch.

When Morejon came back into the room, she took a sip from the cup of water that sits on her desk. She noticed the water tasted funny, so she took another sip. She then took the lid off the cup and smelled the water, and detected the odor of hand sanitizer, which also sits on her desk. Detectives were told Morejon went to Bartow Regional Medical Center on the advice of her doctor to be evaluated because she was not feeling well, had headache and stomach aches.

Malvasia was identified by two student witnesses as the person who intentionally squirted Zep’s Professional Hand Sanitizer into his teacher’s cup. Deputies arrested Malvasia on the aforementioned charges and transported him to the Juvenile Assessment Center.


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