Saturday, June 21, 2008
DELAND, Fla. -- A Central Florida man armed only with a large palm frond robbed a store in a crime described by police as one of the most bizarre they've ever seen.
Police said Gelando Olivieri attempted to rob the V&F Discount Beverage store in DeLand by threatening harm with a spiked Spanish bayonet, a palmetto-like plant with sharp points on its leaves.
"The man came in with the branch. I have never seen anything like this," owner Goutam Sarkar told the DeLand-Deltona Beacon Thursday.
Surveillance video showed Olivieri wildly waving the palm frond in front of a worker's face.
Investigators said Olivieri threatened to use the leaves to stab if he wasn't given $50.
"(The plant) was sharp," Sarkar said.
Before any money was exchanged, Oliveiri was chased out of the store by a man armed with a bar stool.
Oliveri was arrested a short time after the crime and charged with armed robbery.
Some residents called the Oliveri creative after hearing about the crime.
A police official said the leaves of the Spanish bayonet are like knives and that people often plant them under windows to stop break-ins.
Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.
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