City under fire after homeless man arrested for charging cell phone at parkBy: Stef DiPietrantonio, FOX 13 News - bio
My Fox Tampa Bay
Nov. 14, 2012
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SARASOTA (FOX 13) - A Sarasota man was arrested for charging his cell phone at a city park. Was it really a case of stealing electricity, or simply a misunderstanding?
New city manager Tom Barwin is calling this all a big mistake – that the city had only recently taken over Gillespie Park from the county and was trying to figure out all of the electrical connections.
Some folks told us they felt the city turned off the power at the pavilion to drive the homeless people away, who use the public outlets to charge their cell phones and electric wheelchairs.
"I just got this job so yeah, I'm a little furious over it," said Darren Kersey. "It was my break. I just started working."
Kersey is mad. He was arrested Sunday and charged with theft of utilities for charging his phone at Sarasota's Gillespie Park.
"I lost my job because of it," he lamented. "I'm unemployed now. I was appalled."
Kersey is homeless for the moment and trying desperately to support two kids. He'd just started new job only days before, but failed to show-up for work because he didn't have the $500 to make bail and was stuck in jail.