28-year old Darren Kersey is homeless, and he needed to charge his cellphone badly. So he decided to use an electric outlet at a public picnic shelter in Gillespie Park. But to Kersey’s surprise, he was arrested instead by a police officer for stealing city utilities. Sarasota Police Sgt. Anthony Frangioni arrested Kersey on Sunday last week and told the 28-year old that “theft of city utilities will not be tolerated during this bad economy.”
The officer also told Kersey that he should have charged his cellphone at local shelters, and not in the park. Kersey was eventually jailed because he was not able to pay the $500 bail. Thankfully, on Monday this week, Judge Charles Williams dismissed the case against Kersey saying that Frangioni lacked “legal justification to make the arrest.”
The Herald Tribune contacted Frangioni for a statement, but didn’t comment on the report. Gillespie Park is a quiet reserve that has a small pond, a playground, and a few picnic shelters. Interestingly, the Herald Tribune reports that two homeless people on Monday were also charging their cellphones on the same area where Kersey was arrested. The incident happened just a couple of hours earlier.