‘Army of turtles’ rant now part of Florida man lore

An Indialantic man was ordered for psychiatric evaluation after his bizarre antics last week went viral on social and mainstream media outlets.

People from the across the country and world learned that the quiet, seaside community had been threatened with an “army of turtles.”

On April 7, Thomas Devaney Lane, 61, was arrested by Indialantic police after causing a series of disturbances in which, according to the arrest affidavit, he hurled obscenities at numerous people and told them “his turtle army will destroy them.”

Almost immediately, the story, and Lane’s mugshot, was picked up from Spokane, Wash., to Galva, Ill. – with stories about Lane appearing in the New York Post, Newsweek, and even London’s Daily Mail, to name a few. The incident even birthed a new “Florida Man” trend with headlines like “Florida Man Threatens to Destroy Everyone with Army of Turtles.”

All the drama began at 8:43 a.m. Sunday morning when police were alerted to Lane’s erratic behavior after receiving a series of seven calls from local businesses and residents who said a man was causing a disturbance “yelling out obscenities constantly and calling himself the saint” at different locations along S. Miramar Avenue, including Starbucks, Café Surfanista, and Sassy Granny Smoothies, as well as along the Wave Crest boardwalk.

He then proceeded to the lobby of the Indialantic Police Department where he reportedly pounded his fists on the glass and wall, and yelled at the dispatcher. He left before police arrived but was promptly located down the road at the 7-Eleven on Fifth Avenue, where he reportedly cursed at police and patrons, called 911, and refused to exit his vehicle. The officer on scene forcibly removed him from the car, and he was arrested. Later, Lane was transported to Brevard County Jail.

Spokesman Tod Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said Lane was released on April 9 but faces several charges including disorderly conduct, resisting an officer without violence, and misuse of 911.

On April 10, Brevard County Judge David E. Silverman granted an ex-parte order for an involuntary examination of Lane, otherwise known as a Baker Act, which occurs when there is reason to believe a person may be mentally ill. Under that law, a person can be held for observation for up to 72 hours in the custody of a facility such as Circles of Care.

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