This article comes from the Bent Fishing Podcast’s “Fish News” segment, where hosts Joe Cermele and Miles Nolte go head-to-head to find and report the most interesting and amusing fishy stories across sources far and wide—from respected scientific journals to trashy tabloids.
Rest easy, Florida—Daniel Armendariz, the man who took a dive into the Gulf Coast Bass Pro Shop’s fish tank in May 2020 has finally turned himself in. He was on the lam for almost a year.
“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. It just kinda happened,” Armendariz told reporters. But the video footage posted to his Facebook page seems to contradict that statement because someone was clearly at the ready with a camera.
The social media post allowed law enforcement to identify Armendariz and issue a warrant on trespassing charges. He was arrested on July 1, 2020, for threatening to shoot someone at a Days Inn.
Police found him with a pump-action shotgun and more than 200 shells in a vehicle. According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, “Armendariz resisted being handcuffed and, when finally detained, began banging his head and feet against the doors of the patrol vehicle.” This incident added a resisting arrest charge to his docket.
Following the July arrest, 28-year-old Armendariz decided to flee the state. After failing to appear in court in January and February, the judge ordered two bench warrants for his arrest.
Armendariz recently returned to Florida and decided to turn himself in. With the help of his Fort Myers attorney, Spencer Cordell, he will face the music for his stunt.
“We will take care of these warrants,” Cordell said. “We’ll probably just go in and figure it out from there.”
While on the surface it may appear to be a harmless prank, the Gulf Coast Bass Pro Shop reportedly spent $3,000 on decontaminating the tank after the plunge. The shop took the incident very seriously in an effort for the dive to not be sensationalized or become some sort of viral challenge.
“Our stores host more than 200 million visitors annually and provide a safe, fun experience for families who share our respect for wildlife,” Bass Pro Shops said in a statement. “This incident is illegal, dangerous, and highly discouraged. We work with law enforcement to investigate all individuals who personally attempt or are involved with such activities.”
This wasn’t Armendariz’s first run-in with the law. According to Lee County court records, he has been arrested more than two dozen times in the last decade. These incidents include possession of alligators, fishing for stone crab out of season, several instances of fishing without a license, possession of undersized snook, and more.
The four alligators were found in a bathtub at his home and were released by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission employees. Apparently, Armendariz likes to be in close quarters with wildlife, regardless of repercussions or responsibility.
That's pure Florida man stuff.
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