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Police Beat: A religious shovel assault, a long night in the shower, a kick in the head and a “friendly” robbery

June 6, 2014

Betrayal, disparities in height and debates about God played into the Orlando police department’s most recent round of incident reports. Few of these occurrences ended well, but at least nobody died.

On the afternoon of May 30, Ray Burley, Jr., 52, was having a few beers on his porch on Garden Avenue, shooting the shit with a man he knew from the neighborhood. The conversation turned to religion, according to a police report, and then, like many such discussions, it escalated into an argument. The man, who is described in the report as “6 foot 1 inch, 160 pounds, dark skin, big red eyes, no teeth,” eventually grabbed a shovel and smashed Burley in the skull. When Burley raised a hand in defense, the shovel fractured his left wrist. He also sustained lacerations to his head and pinky finger, and the suspect was last seen running on Jefferson Street toward Parramore Avenue.

Around 9:30 that night, 43-year-old Sudie Dado was in her bathroom preparing for bed when she heard a window shatter in the second-story master bedroom of her MetroWest apartment. Then she heard voices. Police say burglars climbed an air conditioning unit, scaling onto the roof of her patio, before perusing through her drawers and closet. Dado hid in the bathtub behind a shower curtain, and the voices eventually trailed into the garage. Since stealing is hot work, they turned on her air conditioning, and though Dado was unsure about how long the intruders stayed, she remained in that bathtub for the rest of the night.

About nine hours after Dado finally got to a phone, Barbara Ann Johnson, 45, was accosted by a man in a 7-Eleven on West Colonial Drive. According to police, the suspect accused Johnson of taking his cell phone. In the ensuing conflict he tried pulling Johnson outside before getting into a tug-of-war battle over the phone. Police described the suspect as 6 feet 3 inches tall, and Johnson as 5 feet 7 inches, 130 pounds. She was dragged to the floor and kicked in the head, causing a cut on her face and a loss of the phone. The suspect was last seen walking toward Parramore Avenue, but according to a 7-Eleven employee, he was picked up by a dark Impala before making it to the cross-street.

On Tuesday, June 3, at another 7-Eleven, this time on East Colonial Drive, police responded to a report of aggravated assault and there found 31-year-old Dan Podgorski. He said he’d met an acquaintance in the downtown area, and with two other guys and a girl, the five planned on driving to the beach. They stopped at 7-Eleven for gas, and at the others’ request Podgorski put his backpack – filled with clothes, a pair of shoes, his wallet and assorted prescription medication – in the trunk of the car. He went inside for some change (also at their suggestion), the then the four tried driving off. He raced back to the car and attempted to enter, but the friend whom he’d initially met told him bluntly to leave, emphasizing the point with a not-so-blunt knife.

Police estimate the value of the loss, including cash in the wallet and the prescription meds, at $480. Curiously, Podgorski said that he didn’t know his blade-happy friend’s name. He claimed to know the first name of one of the others, but refused to provide it, and then he asked police if they could get his prescription meds replaced. They said they weren’t sure if the pharmacy would do so, but if anyone from the pharmacy requested it, they would be be happy to provide a case number and an incident report.

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