South Florida woman says neighbor raped her, then talked to her about life

A South Florida woman told deputies that she woke up early Friday to find a masked man armed with a knife leaning over her bed. She said the man raped her and then spent the rest of the time before he left talking to her, revealing himself to be her neighbor.

Timothy Walding, 18, of Boynton Beach, was arrested on charges of armed sexual battery and false imprisonment.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, the woman was sleeping in her master bedroom upstairs when she was awakened by a masked man hovering over her. She said the man tied her hands together, undressed her, put on a condom and raped her.

After about 10 minutes, the intruder then forced the woman onto her knees and made her perform oral sex on him, she told deputies.

The woman was crying and pleaded with the intruder not to kill her, so he assured her that he wasn’t going to kill her and then put the knife in a holster on the side of his pants, the report said.

After the ordeal, the intruder spent the rest of the time before he left talking to her, taking the time to put her underwear and shorts back on her, she told deputies.

“(The intruder) kept telling her that she knew him,” the report said.

She said her attacker “continued talking to her about his life” and said he couldn’t imagine leaving two children without a mother. She said he told her how his mother died when he was 12, and the more he spoke, the more she realized that he was “very young.”

Finally, she asked the man if he was Walding, who lives on the same street as her, so he took off his mask and revealed his identity, the report said.

The woman asked Walding how he got inside her house, and he told her that he came in through the front door.

“You really should deadbolt your door because I didn’t really want to do this, but I had to do it,” Walding said, according to the report.

Walding then pulled a fish hook out of his pocket and said he used it to pick the door lock, the report said.

“The suspect told her that he stood outside of her front door for 10 minutes contemplating whether he should do this or not,” the report said.

When asked why he decided to do it, Walding answered, “Obviously, it wasn’t a spontaneous thing and I had this plan,” the report said.

The woman was able to talk Walding into untying her hands and letting her onto the back patio so she could smoke a cigarette, the report said.

While they were outside, Walding said he couldn’t go back home because he didn’t know what to do and then asked her “if he could make this up to her by doing some yard work or by fixing something around her house,” the woman told deputies.

She said no, and Walding then asked her if they could shake hands so that he would know that she wasn’t going to say anything to anyone about what happened, the report said. She agreed and they shook hands, she told deputies.

The woman watched Walding walk back to his house, then locked the doors and called 911, she said.

Deputies went to Walding’s home and arrested him. He was being held without bond Thursday morning at the main Palm Beach County jail.

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Couple reflects on finding injured pit bull stuffed inside a suitcase

Kristen Bagarozza was walking to her Hollywood home with her boyfriend Tuesday night when they noticed a suitcase in front of an abandoned house on Lee Street.

The paw of a 1-year-old puppy named Ollie was sticking out of the suitcase.

They called police straightaway and later learned that Ollie had been stabbed nearly 50 times, beaten and then stuffed inside the suitcase. 

“We didn’t know it was stabbed or nothing or hurting. It wasn’t making any noise,” Steve Rogers said.

Ollie is recovering at VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital. By Wednesday afternoon he’d undergone two surgeries. 

“He just had his surgery, his second surgery just now, and he is waking up from anesthesia. The surgery went well,” Dr. Linda Ream of VCA Hollywood Animal hospital  said. “Yesterday they repaired the wounds in his head and now today they did the ones on his chest and side.”

And despite his injuries, Ollie is holding up well. 

Those at the animal hospital said he is wagging his tail and appears happy. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of people have donated money that will be put toward Ollie’s recovery.

 “I’m so grateful that we were going down that way because I’m pretty sure no one else would’ve and I’m just glad we did because that dog wouldn’t have made it much longer,”  Bagarozza  said. 

Ollie is expected to spend another week in the hospital before he’s released to a foster home.

His attacker, however, remains at large.

Anyone with information about who injured Ollie is asked to call the Hollywood Police Department at 954-967-4411 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

Click here to donate to Ollie’s medical care and to find out more information about how to adopt him. 

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2 arrested in Davie as part of national drug investigation

Residents of the quiet Laurel Oaks subdivision in Davie were shocked Wednesday morning when they saw federal drug agents arrest two of their neighbors. 

“When I was going to church this morning and a car was parked outside (the house). My husband came and asked ‘Who are you?’ They said, ‘Homeland Security,’ and then after that all of the cars just started coming in,” Cindy Padavathil said. “We don’t know what’s going on at all.”

Anthony Santos Gomes, 33, and Elizabeth Ton — or Lisa Gomes as she also goes by — had been living in the area for only five months.

The couple is believed to be married and are currently being held in the  Broward County jail.

The pair have been named as coconspirators of  an investigation of an international drug ring accused of distributing fentanyl – a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than morphine. 

An indictment accuses them of using computers to buy and sell the drug on sites that are designed to be hidden from the public.

At least four deaths have been linked to the case. 

The raid of the home began in the morning and continued throughout the day. 

Drug Enforcement Administration agents were joined by officers with the Department of Homeland Security, IRS, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office to search the home. 

Sherif Elhaddad is the president of the Laurel Oaks Homeowners Association and said the couple used to get late night visits and it was common for there to be activity at the house after 2 a.m.

“I’m very happy they’re gone,” Elhaddad said. 


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Man in custody after masturbating at Panera Bread, police say

A South Florida man was arrested Thursday, months after he was seen masturbating at a Panera Bread in Pembroke Pines, authorities said.

Anthony Walker, 49, was arrested on an exposure of sexual organs charge. 

The incident was reported about 3:30 p.m. July 29 at the Panera Bread at 11029 Pines Blvd.

Police said two patrons saw a man masturbating at a table and notified employees.

Employees checked the restaurant’s surveillance video and identified the suspect as Walker, who they told police is a frequent customer.

Police said they had trouble locating Walker because he is homeless. 

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Chase Bank teller arrested in connection with Miami Beach skimming scam

A Chase Bank branch teller was arrested Wednesday, months after Miami Beach police opened an investigation into numerous cases of ATM fraud involving a skimmer device, authorities said.

Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said the Police Department’s Economic Crimes Unit opened the investigation in May after at least seven victims came forward.

According to an arrest report, Manuel Vargas, 19, was captured on surveillance video on three occassions in July withdrawing money from a City National Bank ATM using counterfeit debit cards and the account holders’ PINs. 

City National Bank notified detectives that more than $6,800 was stolen from the accounts between July 16 and July 18.

Police said Vargas confessed to withdrawing the money after he was introduced to a “friend” who gave him more than 10 debit cards and PINs. 

Police said Vargas claimed that he and the friend withdrew cash at ATMs in Miami Beach and Sunny Isles Beach, but said that he only kept a small amount of the money.

Rodriguez said detectives discovered the common point of initial transaction was at a City National Bank-owned ATM at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, where a skimmer was installed. 

Police call it skimming when a criminal puts a device on a card reader to steal debit or credit card information during a transaction.

“So as people go in there, they dip their card into the reader. That information is stored and, in this case, on that green globe, where later the subjects will go retrieve it, and then fraudulently create new debit cards to use,” Rodriguez told Local 10 News in August. 

Police believe Vargas and at least two other men stole thousands of dollars from the victims after withdrawing cash from ATMs throughout South Florida.

Police believe there may be additional victims.

A Mount Sinai Medical Center representative said the hospital took the initiative to work with authorities on this case and were proactive in having this investigated and resolved.

Below are tips from the Miami Beach Police Department about how to avoid being skimmed:

– Inspect the ATM, gas pump or credit card reader before using it. Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.
– When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
– If possible, use an ATM at an inside location, where it is less likely that criminals will have access to install skimmers. 
– Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas, which are a popular target of skimmers.
– If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.

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17-year-old arrested after stealing BMW with baby girl inside, police say

A 17-year-old boy was arrested overnight after stealing a BMW SUV Tuesday in Margate, authorities said on Wednesday.

Alex Exantus, of North Lauderdale, was arrested shortly after midnight on charges of grand theft and burglary of an occupied conveyance.

“It’s amazing. (With) all the help and the agencies, and the help with the media and tips that came in, we’re able to help resolve this case in a positive manner,” Margate Police Sgt. Lorie Eller said. 

Police said a 9-month-old baby girl was inside the BMW X1 when it was stolen Tuesday afternoon in the area of Coconut Creek Parkway and Banks Road.

Margate police said a woman had left her car, which had government plates, on outside a post office when the thief got into the driver’s seat and drove away. 

Alert neighbors in an apartment complex near McNab Road and Florida’s Turnpike said they recognized the BMW from live coverage on the news.

One woman, who did not want to be identified, said she saw the car running in the parking lot with the little girl inside.

She recorded the police scene in a video on Facebook.

“My son said, ‘That looks like the car that’s on TV with the baby in it,'” the woman could be heard saying in the video. “The way the baby was slumped over in the chair, it’s like she wasn’t alive.”
The woman said she called 911 immediately, and the girl appeared to be fine when paramedics arrived.

Police confirmed that the baby was found safe in the vehicle and she was reunited with her parents. 

Authorities said Exantus does not live at the apartment complex where the baby was found.

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