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Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Friday, November 2, 2012
Keys man arrested in odd robbery attempt

A 67-year-old Big Pine Key man on Halloween night tried to rob the gift shop at Boondocks Grille and Draft House at Mile Marker 27.5, with only a verbal demand and some odd behavior, according to sheriff's deputies.

Gary Griesinger was arrested on his knees at gunpoint after allegedly attempting a robbery without a weapon, which is a felony, deputies reported.

Dressed in shorts and a shirt and reportedly wearing "a dead frog around his neck," the gray haired man walked into the gift shop and told the clerk, "You know what I want...the money in the cash register, please."

He remained jailed Thursday night in lieu of $30,000 bond.

Deputies said they found a brown folding knife inside his shirt pocket and that Griesinger's eyes were "bloodshot, watery and glassy," suggesting he was under the influence of some intoxicant.

While at the Ramrod Key restaurant, Greisinger repeatedly coughed in the direction of deputies and at the jail told one that he had "infectious pneumonia" and that it was his "gift" to the officers, the arrest report said.

Greisinger drew attention before he even entered the restaurant, according to server Vivian Portela, who told deputies she saw him sitting in his car for almost 15 minutes flashing his headlights on and off.

Once seated at a table, Greisinger told Portela, 22, things that were going on at his house that she described as "strange and inappropriate," and beyond belief, the report said.

He then told her he was having pain in his side and believed he was having a stroke, Portela told deputies, but when the manager was summoned he denied complaining of any discomfort.

Griesinger then continued with his "odd behavior," Portela said, and asked her "not to call the cops," the report said.

When he got up and walked into the gift shop, Portela kept an eye on him and told the clerk inside about his odd behavior, deputies reported.

While watching through the gift shop window, Portela said she watched the clerk, Lisa Beresoff, turn "ghost white" while speaking with Griesinger.

Portela rushed inside, as Beresoff was writing a note that started, "He just told me he wanted all the money in the..."

Portela didn't let Beresoff finish writing because she knew what it was going to say, she told deputies. The server found a manager, who called 911.

Beresoff was shaken and nervous while telling deputies what happened, the police report noted. She said that when the man asked for the cash register money she was immediately in fear and never thought he was joking.

Boondocks owner Lanny Gardner told police that the gift shop is monitored by video cameras but that he couldn't immediately make a copy Wednesday night.

Griesinger surrendered without a fight but would not immediately comply with the arresting deputy's command for him to put his hands on his head and turn away, the report said.

Instead, Griesinger raised his hands and turned to face the deputy, who said he then ordered the man to his knees "for officer safety."

After a number of loud verbal orders went refused by Griesinger, the deputy said he grabbed the man and finally made a "leg sweep" to put him on the ground.

Griesinger was handcuffed, and later told the arresting deputy, Chris Fraser, that he had intentionally tried to cough on him at Boondocks.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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