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Date: June 21, 2016

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Location: Lakeland Police Department

219 N. Massachusetts Avenue. 3rd floor Conference Room



LAKELAND, FL (June 21, 2016) - During a three-day operation in mid-April, a multi-agency undercover sting was conducted focusing in on unlicensed contractors. Those agencies that played a vital role in the successful operation include the Lakeland Police Department, State Attorney’s Office 10th Judicial Circuit, The Florida Department of Financial Services Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Compliance, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Eight individuals advertised their ability to perform wide-ranging plumbing and electrical work without proper licenses or training. All but one had no worker’s compensation coverage to protect their employees in the event of an accident or injury.

The undercover sting operation was conducted in an effort to stop these illegal practices. Detectives responded to public advertisements, created by the defendants, requesting that they perform services at a specified location in Lakeland. The workers were invited to the home by an undercover detective posing as a homeowner in need of home repairs. Once they provided the undercover detective with a proposal for work that would require a contractor's license in the state of Florida, they were in violation. A few highlights from the operation are:

·       Several of the defendants utilized web sites advertising their services and that they were insured.

·       One defendant admitted he was not allowed to do some of the work he agreed to complete.

·       Lettering on one of the subject’s van stated, “Licensed & Insured”.

·       One subject provided a fictitious business license number.

·       Business cards handed out stating, “Licensed & Insured”.

·       Some of the subjects had prior criminal charges for:

o   Aggravated Assault

o   Carrying Concealed Weapon

o   Lewd Lascivious Battery Child under 16 years of age

o   Sexual Battery

o   Felony Battery

"We must be vigilant and continue to crack down on those who are contracting work illegally and working without a license,” said Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens. “Unlicensed contractors place our citizens at risk and threaten the livelihood of our law-abiding contractors and their employees. “ 

 Detectives worked with the State Attorney’s Office and throughout the investigation and later had capias issued for the below listed individuals. The below six defendants were taken into custody between June 16th and 17th and they were all charged with, Engaging in a business as a contractor without a license (M1) and Fail to secure workers’ compensation insurance coverage (F3). 

1.     Justin Cortes, 48 yrs old - Polk City, FL.

2.     Greatlen Bozeman, 43 yrs old - Winter Haven, FL.

3.     Herbert Vanegas, 54 yrs old - Lakeland, FL.

4.     Henricus Van Der Linden, 56 yrs old - Winter Haven, FL.

5.     Stuart Rhodes, 67 yrs old - Lakeland, FL.

6.     Juan Carlos Diaz, 35 yrs old - Lakeland, FL.

7.     Raymond Figueroa-Garcia, 30 yrs old, Winter Haven, FL.

The below listed defendant, Raymond Perdue, had his worker’s compensation insurance, but did not have a contractor’s license. Charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office for Engaging in a business as a contractor without a license (M1) and Perdue was issued a summons to appear in county court.

8.     Raymond Perdue, 45 yrs old, Lakeland, FL. 

The Media Relations Unit has provided video, pictures, affidavits and copies of documents on our web site at


Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.


Alligator Incident Investigated

On June 7th at approximately 1:40 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to a citizen 911 call of an alligator with a body in its mouth at 1 Lake Hunter Drive. Uniform patrol officers responded to the scene and observed what appeared to be a body in the alligator’s mouth just off of the shoreline at Lake Hunter Drive and Cresap Avenue. The alligator let go of the body and swam off, circling the area for approximately one hour. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers responded to the scene and notified a contract trapper, who also responded. Detectives canvassed the area in an attempt to find anything of evidentiary value that may assist in identifying the body.

At this time, the preliminary investigation reveals that the body is a male subject, unknown age. In addition, it appears as if the body was in the water more than one day due to the decomposition of the body. The investigation into the death is ongoing and the body will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

On June 4th, the Lakeland Police Department received a call from a citizen at 8:53 a.m. in reference to finding a shirt in the water with pair of pants and backpack nearby at the Lake Hunter Boat Ramp, 650 Sikes Blvd. The citizen did not want any contact at the time and they also reported that there had been an aggressive alligator by the boat ramp during the week. The Lakeland Police responded to the area, arriving at 9:06 a.m. Six different Lakeland Police Officers checked the surrounding area and did not locate anyone in the water or observe any alligator nearby. The Lakeland Fire Department was called at 10:01 a.m. in reference to utilizing their boat to search the surrounding lake area. At 11:01 they cleared from the lake after not locating anything. 

On June 5th, at 5:16 p.m, the Lakeland Police Department received a call from a citizen stating that they observed something large floating in the Lake Hunter with an alligator circling it. The citizen in this case had also left the area. Responding officers checked the surrounding lake area and was unable to locate anything.

At this time, there are no additional leads and the identity of the deceased is still unknown.

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.

Robbery Investigation - Suspects Amanda Henson and Douglass Thornton

Lakeland Police responded to a disturbance in progress at 3:51 am after a 911 call was received by victim, Allen Randolph THOMAS (age 57), stating he had been attacked. The victim stated he was being attacked by a male and a female and was at Lake Mirror near a park. During the call a male and female voice could be heard in the background involved in a disturbance. A male voice could be heard telling the victim to “give him his son”. The victim advised that the white female attacker had a pink shirt on. Officers responded to the area and were unable to locate a victim. At 7:18 am, a call was received from a citizen that an unresponsive adult male was seen in a parking lot at 515 East Orange Avenue. Officers arriving in the area found the victim deceased with a contusion over his left eye. His eyes appeared to be swollen and cell phone was missing.


Officers utilized security cameras in the area and were able to obtain images of the two suspects and the victim interacting. The victim was observed attempting to leave the area and the suspects were observed moving toward the victim. All three moved out of camera range and, a short time later, the suspects were observed leaving the area on foot. Suspect, Amanda N. HENSON, DOB: (W/F, DOB: 8/25/86) was located in the 600 block of Kentucky Avenue. Suspect, Anthony Douglass THORNTON, (W/M, DOB: 2/21/80) was also located in the

downtown area of Lakeland. The victim’s cell phone was located in Thornton’s pocket.


During interview Henson stated that Thornton had directed her to take Thomas’ cell phone during the altercation. Henson did take the cell phone from Thomas and later gave it to Thornton. Henson also confirmed that Thomas had tried to get away from Thornton, but Thornton pursued him because he believed Thomas had something to do with Thornton’s son. During interview with Thornton, he stated that he was with Henson and saw Thomas walking in the area. Thornton stated that Henson told him that Thomas had taken his son. Thornton then approached Thomas and initiated a confrontation. Thornton stated he did punch Thomas and Thomas fell to the ground.


Both suspects admitted to smoking K2 prior to the event occurring. The investigation indicated that Thomas was not known to either suspect prior to the robbery.


Thornton was arrested for Robbery w/o Firearm/Weapon (F2)

Aggravated Battery Causing Bodily Harm/Disability (F2)

Henson was arrested for Robbery w/o Firearm/Weapon (F2).

Both were transported to Polk County Jail. This investigation is ongoing pending

autopsy report.

Additional information becomes available.

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.860.4178.



Missing/Endangered Person Larry Langford

UPDATE:  Mr. Langford was located at approximately 2100 hours at Lakeland Highlands Road and the Polk Parkway.  He is unharmed and safe.


Lakeland Police are searching for missing/endangered person Larry Langford, W/M, age 53, 5’10” tall and weighing 200 pounds.  Langford went missing at 0830 hours on 6/4/16 from the Lake Wire Retirement Center, 315 West Peachtree Street, Lakeland, Florida.  

Langford has a medical condition and is on medication.   Langford is on foot and was last seen wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants. Langford is bald with gray hair, beard, and mustache.  If you come into contact with Langford, or have information of his whereabouts, please contact police immediately. 

Police have attempted to track with K-9 and saturated the area in an attempt to locate Langford. 

Additional information will be released as it becomes available.