TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Some lessons learned in Florida this year:
- Giant African snail mucus can make you sick.
- Don't let your dog near frozen iguanas.
- Burials at sea don't work so well if the body doesn't sink.
- And if you're a woman visiting a federal detention center, wear a bra, but make sure it doesn't have an underwire.
Florida lived up to its reputation for being an odd state in 2010, a year where stupid crimes, poor decisions and general weirdness seemingly showed no geographical or age limits.
Like the 3-year-old who took a bag of marijuana to school in Columbia County, the 81-year-old Marion County man busted for selling pot and the 19-year-old arrested for lighting up a joint in a Palm Beach Gardens bookstore while waiting for Ozzy Osbourne's autograph.
In other marijuana news, an Osceola County man chose his front yard, visible from the street, to grow pot. He was arrested when the plants, some seven-feet tall, were spotted. A Florida Keys man was a little smarter and grew his weed in the woods. He was arrested when deputies took the plants and left a note that said, "Thanks for the grow! You want them back? Call for the price." He called, offered $200 and then met deputies to get the plants back.
Then there was the man pulled over in Manatee County who claimed the crack in his crack wasn't his. Officers found bags of marijuana and crack cocaine stuffed between the man's butt cheeks. He said the pot was his but "the white stuff is not mine."
Among other bizarre traffic stops, a man with a fake badge, flashing green lights and a holstered gun pulled over motorists and asked them if they had drugs or alcohol. Police said he reeked of booze and charged him with DUI and impersonating an officer.
Marion County deputies said a 61-year-old man they pulled over took one more drink in front of them before submitting to, and failing, a field sobriety test. A Collier County deputy called a cab for a drunk bar patron, only to see the cab return a few minutes later and the patron get out and try to drive away. The man was charged with DUI.
Alcohol played a role in many other stories, like the 55-year-old woman injured when trying to use the bathroom in a motor home traveling down I-10 in the Panhandle. She somehow fell onto the highway. Then there was the Daytona Beach man who lied to officers about being carjacked because he was too embarrassed to admit he let a stranger take his pickup on a beer run. The man never returned.
A 32-year-old Pasco County man called 911 to complain his mother took his beer. Police in Deland said a man walked out of a bar and head-butted a street preacher who called him a sinner. A man in Marion County almost chewed his brother's ear off during a drunken fight over a dog. A Pasco County man was charged with slashing his father with a knife during an argument over who would walk the dog.
There were other strange dog stories. A man was walking his Jack Russell terrier in Tampa when an alligator snatched it. He pulled out his handgun and started shooting at the gator. It let go of the dog, but the pet wasn't breathing until the man performed CPR and revived it.
South Florida veterinarians began seeing an unusual number of paralyzed dogs and concluded they had a rare disease caught after coming in contact with iguanas killed during a cold snap.
Dogs weren't always the victim. A Hernando County man was run over by his own pickup truck after his dog jumped into the running vehicle and put it in gear.
In other truck news, a death row inmate filed and lost a lawsuit seeking to keep a restored 1971 Chevy pickup that he stole from the couple he killed.
In Sanford, a dealer of used pickup trucks offered a free AK-47 assault rifle with every purchase. Apparently trucks and guns go well together. Fort Pierce police say a 25-year-old man drove his pickup truck across a lawn, over a mailbox and at several people after losing an arm-wrestling match, then pressed a rifle to the forehead of the man who beat him. Two men were charged in Glades County after authorities found 36 dead alligators and 19 live hatchlings in their pickup truck.
Several people in Miami complained to authorities when they got sick after consuming mucus from a giant African snail as part of a religious ceremony.
Among some threatening items bomb squads had to handle this year: a box with two kittens in Cocoa and a stuffed pony in Orange County. Authorities blew up the stuffed pony, but spared the kittens.
A Melbourne street was shut down for three hours, the time it took the bomb squad to figure out the flashing object in the middle of the street was a restaurant pager. An Orlando-area police station was evacuated when an elderly woman walked in with a grenade she found - pin intact.
It wasn't the year to mess with the elderly. An 84-year-old man was arrested in Bay County for allegedly hitting a deputy with his cane. An 80-year-old Brooksville woman was found guilty of bilking friends and neighbors out of more than $1 million