The Palm Beach Police Department had a busy summer.
Assaults, police chases, a multimillion-dollar extortion attempt — there was no shortage of crime stories this off-season.
If you were out of town and missed the reports, here’s a recap of a few memorable incidents from the summer:
The day began with a kidnapping, a Taser and a $2.5 million extortion attempt, police said.
It ended with Mustafa Gencoglanoglu, 45, of West Palm Beach and Murat Ekdi, 38, of Tampa surrendering to police in their white Ford Explorer near South County Road.
The two men were arrested in August after police said they kidnapped a West Palm Beach woman and tried to extort more than $2 million from her Palm Beach bank account.
Earlier that day, Gencoglanoglu brought the woman to a home he and Ekdi had recently rented, according to a police report, where they beat her and shocked her with a Taser as Ekdi wore a black mask and gloves. They told the woman that they would soon be driving to her bank, and ordered her to transfer $2.5 million into an offshore account once they arrived, police said.
But when they arrived at the bank, the woman told the teller that she was in danger, according to the report, and the bank called the police.
The two men sped away in their car but surrendered to police soon after.
Ekdi was arrested on felony counts of attempted robbery with a firearm, kidnapping, aggravated battery, extortion and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He entered not guilty pleas and is due back in court Nov. 16, according to court documents.
Gencoglanoglu was arrested on felony charges of kidnapping, attempted robbery with a firearm, aggravated battery, extortion, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. He also pleaded not guilty to the charges and has a hearing set for Nov. 16, according to court documents.
Attempted escape with drugs
A Colorado man with marijuana tried to escape from police by jumping into the Intracoastal Waterway in June, police said. It didn’t work.
On June 10, police said the dock master at the Sailfish Club called about a man named Brian James Marx Jr., 28, who was trespassing.
Police arrived and detained Marx, but when they caught a glimpse of the marijuana jar inside Marx’s backpack, he ran, a police report said.
Police chased Marx onto the Lake Trail before watching him jump into the Intracoastal with his marijuana, according to the report. Marx soon realized he had nowhere to go, police said, and returned to the shore.
Marx was arrested on two felony charges — resisting an officer with violence and tampering with evidence — and misdemeanor charges of trespassing, resisting an officer without violence, criminal mischief, and marijuana possession less than 20 grams. The felony charges were dropped, according to court records. A plea conference is scheduled Dec. 3 on three misdemeanor charges.
Failure to report a death
A West Palm Beach woman left a dead man in a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway for eight days, stole his car and cashed stolen checks, police said.
Dawn Loraine Griffiths, 38, told police that she boarded the boat on Aug. 12 to hang out with friends. But once she saw 43-year-old William Ross Harris snorting “two large lines” of heroin, she left the boat and used Harris’ car to buy some for herself, according to a police report.
When she returned, Harris had died from an apparent overdose, police said. But instead of reporting it, police said Griffiths stole some checks from the boat and stole Harris’ car, using it for the next week.
Griffiths reported the death in late September when she turned herself into the Palm Beach Police department, according to the report.
Griffiths was charged with two felony counts of grand theft between $300 and $5,000, two felony counts of a scheme to defraud property under $20,000, two felony counts of uttering forged instruments, one felony count of vehicle theft and one misdemeanor charge of failing to report a death. A court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 29, according to court records.
Parking lot attack
A West Palm Beach man stole drinks from customers’ tables at Cucina Palm Beach and then drunkenly attacked a stranger in the parking lot, police said.
At about midnight on May 11, Theodore Alexander Watts Jr., 41, was kicked out of Cucina by a security guard after Watts began stealing drinks and acting “belligerent with patrons,” according to a police report.
After leaving the restaurant and speeding away in his blue Mercedes, Watts returned and parked next to a 65-year-old New York man and a 47-year-old woman sitting in a black SUV, where he opened the passenger door and grabbed the man by his white button-down shirt, police said. Watts then pulled the man out of the car and punched him three times in the face, ripping his shirt, according to the report.
When police arrived, both the man and the woman in the black SUV told police they did not know Watts and had never seen him before.
Watts was arrested on felony charges of battery on a person 65 years or older and burglary with battery.
According to court records, no action was taken by the prosecutor on the first battery charge. A plea conference is scheduled on the felony burglary charge on Nov. 20.