An African-American man named Vladimir Putin, who undoubtedly would not make a good doppelganger for the Russian President, was arrested at a Publix supermarket in Florida last week.

The 48-year-old was reportedly yelling at employees at the grocery store and refused to leave. He then decided to go but returned to continue shouting. The man was arrested for trespassing and resisting an officer without violence. Putin was told to leave the premises but only went to sit outside on the patio.

Vladimir Putin was arrested for trespassing and resisting an officer without violence. Photo credit: AP / Independent
Vladimir Putin was arrested for trespassing and resisting an officer without violence. Photo credit: AP / Independent

There have yet to be any reports as to why Putin was screaming at employees or what he was raising his voice about. Regardless, Putin was taken into custody and on Monday morning appeared in court. He was released and given another court date for September.

Florida’s Vladimir Putin

Putin allegedly did not want to give police officers his name at first. He was initially listed as “John Doe”. At this point, one assumes the last thing the officers thought was that this 48-year-old, African-American male at a grocery store in Florida with dreadlocks and a graying beard would be identified as a Vladimir Putin.

The records obtained by the court do not list an address for the man. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy, Eric Davis, said he was unsure if Putin had a lawyer.

According to Florida’s statutes for burglary and trespassing, whoever enters or remains in any structure or conveyance without being authorised, licensed, or invited, and is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorised by the owner or lessee to depart but refuses to do so, then that person is found to have committed the offense of trespass in that structure or conveyance. Putin may have been allowed to enter the property because it is a supermarket and he could have been a potential customer. However, when he started shouting at employees,  saying he “missed his ride,” according to 9 News, and was asked to leave but refused, that meant according to Florida law, he had committed that offense.

The State of Florida regards trespassing as a misdemeanor of the second degree, meaning that he is liable to spend a prison sentence of up to 60 days and/or a fine of up to $500. Furthermore, misdemeanors committed in Florida need to conform to the statutes of limitations, meaning that the case can only be treated within a set period before it is then dismissed. This period is about between one and two years.

What is interesting about Florida is that first offense prostitution is also deemed a second-degree misdemeanor. A second offense would be a first-degree misdemeanor with a jail sentence of up to about a year and/or a fine of $1000. A third prostitution offense and any following that would then be deemed a third-degree felony charge, meaning potential incarceration may be up to five years, and the fine may be $5000. If the act involved a minor, then the severity increases to a second-degree felony with a possible sentencing of up to 15 years and/or a fine of $10 000.

Source: Independent