Hostage Drama Grips Central Florida

Yesterday marked the second day in a row that key portions of the 192, a main thoroughfare that runs by Disney Property, were shut down due to major criminal acts. Monday featured a string of carjackings and an eventual suicide when escape was no longer possible. Tuesday featured a bank robbery turned hostage situation when police arrived on the scene moments later. The hostage negotiations played out slowly over 12 hours the ended swiftly, and fatally for one of the bank robbers, when it looked like the hostage takers were attempting another escape.

Needless to say this is not the type of publicity Orlando, Kissimmee, or Walt Disney World wants to see. Even after a record quarter for attendance at the parks. But it is true that tourist zones attract certain types of criminals and banks will always attract bank robbers. It’s best that you be alert when you’re vacationing someplace, no matter where that place is. Don’t keep valuables in your room or leave them in your car. Use traveler checks where debit cards won’t do. Don’t wear over the shoulder purses or keep your wallet in your back pocket.

It’s also probably a good idea to do some security checks on your home before you leave and have neighbors keep an eye on the place for you. Notify your paper to stop delivery, arrange for the USPS to hold your mail, and buy one of those light timer switches that turns on and off your interior and exterior lights at set intervals.  It’s also a good idea to leave contact information with one of your neighbors in case something does go wrong.

If you’re prepared you can have plenty of fun knowing that you’ve taken appropriate steps to protect you, your family, and your memories.

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8 thoughts on “Hostage Drama Grips Central Florida

  1. John Cutter/Criminal Justice Editor

    I posted a link from our Sentinel crime blog to here, in case people want to get involved in the discussion. As for crime in tourist areas, that is interesting topic. We could check on the statistics, but they might be slanted. For example, you might find more robberies per 1,000 residents, making an area seem to have high crime. But when you factor in the number of tourists, it might be lower. I’ll ask around and see what we have.

  2. John Frost

    Thanks John for the link. I would think that you could sort the Police blotter by victim’s city of residence. Those outside the Orange/Osceola County area would fit the definition of tourist. Let me know if something comes of your research.

  3. Jen

    I live in the area (within 5 miles of both) where both incidents this week occurred. When I moved here in 2004, this area had one of the lowest crime rates for all of Central Florida. I was going to move to MetroWest originally, but the crime stats were through the roof and I decided on this area instead.

  4. Brian

    I have known both of the suspects for a long time. In fact, “Tano” owned a restaurant here in NY and was my boss while I was in high school. I could have never imagined he would pull something like this……

  5. Jess

    It’s important to remember crime happens everywhere, even at the footsteps of the Magic Kingdom. And anyone in your network of friends and family can be a part of it! I am devastated for Tano’s family, Barbara and his kids, not only did they lose their father and husband but also for their scrutiny in the public eye. I worked for Tano at his pizzeria in Bloomingburg I even babysat his children on several occassions and I am just SHOCKED by this news. I also know Amanda’s beautiful child. My heart truly breaks for these families. Everyone who reads this please realize that even though Tano is considered a criminal, keep in mind that he was a father, husband and friend…and please say a prayer in hopes that their children will one day come to peace with this. I send my sincerest sympathies and love out to the families.

  6. megan

    i’ve known amanda and tom for a very long time. i babysat amandas beautiful little girl about 2 years ago. tom i’ve known since i was old enough to walk across the street to pick up our pizzas. what they did was horrible but why people do the things they do is beyond me. pray for their families.

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