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Intoxicated beer thief arrested after argument prompts call to law enforcement

A Lady Lake man was arrested for disorderly intoxication after getting into an argument at a Chevron Foodmart in Mount Dora.

David Franklin Caruso
David Franklin Caruso

A deputy responded to a verbal argument in progress between two people at Chevron Foodmart, located at 3865 N. Highway 19A, around 6:31 p.m. Wednesday, according to an arrest report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. 

The female caller stated there were two customers in the store, one of which was later identified as 56-year-old David Franklin Caruso. The caller said the pair would not stop arguing. She gave descriptions of Caruso and the other man involved before the dispatcher was informed that Caruso was intoxicated and calling her obscenities, the report said. 

Upon arrival at the mart, the deputy spoke to the complainant who advised that Caruso cursed at her, causing another man to stand up for her and tell Caruso that he cannot use that kind of language toward her. Caruso was very intoxicated, yelling at the other man and looking to fight him. He eventually left the store but not before taking a four pack of Busch Light valued at $6, throwing two cans on the floor and exiting without paying, the report said. 

The deputy next talked to the other man involved. He stated that Caruso was yelling at the complainant and appeared to be intoxicated. He heard Caruso call her a name and intervened to stand up for the complainant, telling Caruso that he could not call her that name, the report said. 

A verbal argument ensued between the two parties. During this, Caruso continuously tried to advance toward the man who was prepared to fight him if he struck first. However, there was no physical altercation, the report said. 

The deputy was then notified by other customers that a person matching Caruso’s description was just seen down the road at the end of Morningside Drive. He searched the area and found him at the intersection of Triangle Drive and Short Street, the report said, 

When the deputy got out of his patrol vehicle, Caruso began raising his voice and repeatedly stated that he did not do anything wrong, the report said. The deputy asked him to come speak with him, but he began walking away and saying obscenities. He got very irate when the deputy got closer yet was successfully detained with the help of more deputies. 

Additionally, the complainant was able to present store camera footage which clearly showed Caruso arguing with the other man. He was seen balling up his fists while advancing toward the man while also holding the four pack of beer. He then left the store with the merchandise without paying, the report said. 

The report noted that when deputies made contact with Caruso, he was very irate, yelling at the top of his lungs and yelling that he would fight them. He appeared to be intoxicated and made several spontaneous utterances stating that he left the store with the product and threw it across the street while leaving the store property, the report said. 

Caruso further advised that he did not steal anything because there were two cans left at the store that the deputies did not find. He then apologized for yelling, stating that he was drunk and only wanted to buy beer from the store. He made these statements without being prompted despite not being told that he was suspected of stealing, the report said. 

The deputy thus transported Caruso to the Lake County Jail. However, on the way there, he began striking his head into the glass and door of the patrol vehicle while also using his body to hit the door. This delayed the deputy because he had to pull over and apply ankle restraints to better secure Caruso and stop him from harming himself or county property. He continued to be erratic and irate once at the jail, yelling and struggling with detention deputies while in their custody, the report said. 

The Georgia native was subsequently charged with disorderly intoxication and retail theft. Bond was set at $2,000.

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