A Florida man spent Christmas Eve in jail for being a naughty neighbour.
Robert Wayne Miller of Zephyrhills, Fla., was arrested Sunday around 9 p.m. for disturbing the peace with his lawn mower, according to a Pasco County complaint affidavit. He faces misdemeanour charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
In body-camera footage obtained by WFLA, Miller's lawn mower can be heard idling in the background as Deputy Michael O'Donnell, who responded to the complaint, approached Miller's property. O'Donnell called out to Miller, and Miller revved the engine of his mower.
Miller had no-trespassing signs on his property, so O'Donnell tried to coax him to the patrol car to serve him his citation for disturbing the peace after being served a warning. Miller refused to go with O'Donnell, so he said he was placing Miller under arrest and warned him that things would get worse if he didn't cooperate.
"I'm placing you under arrest for disturbing the peace, so either you come out of here or I'm going to drop more charges on you," O'Donnell told him. "You can either go now, or I'm going to have more charges for you and you're going to have us up here every night."
"For what?" Miller replied.
"For disturbing the peace." O'Donnell said. Then the deputy appears to point to houses around the neighbourhood. "I've had your neighbour there come out and tell me she can't take it anymore, I've had that neighbour, I've had that neighbour, I've had that neighbour; I've had four people come out and tell me that they can't take it anymore."
"Whatever," Miller replied. Then he went back and turned on his lawn mower again.
O'Donnell asked Miller to exit his property a few more times before Miller retreated into his home, according to the affidavit. Miller was ultimately arrested for refusing to stop his disturbing behavior and for not complying with a law enforcement officer's command, O'Donnell statement said.
One neighbour told the officer that the noise from Miller's mower prevented his infants and ailing wife from sleeping, the deputy wrote. Another neighbour complained that he also couldn't sleep because of the noise. A third simply said she "could not take it anymore."
One of the four neighbours who complained to the officer was Dwane White, who lives across the street from Miller.
White told WRIC that Miller prompted 114 calls to the sheriff's office in the past six months, many having to do with the lawn mower and loud music. He also installed audio and video recording cameras outside his home to document Miller's behavior.
"It does take a mental strain on you to continue to go through this for such a long period of time," he told the station.
Miller has been charged with other annoying behaviours, such as allowing an animal to roam around the neighbourhood and letting debris accumulate on his property, according to public records.
Miller's attorney didn't respond to a request for comment. If convicted on the current charges, he could spend up to a year and a half in jail and be fined up to $2,261.
As of Christmas Eve, Miller was in custody on $233 bond, and his neighbours were enjoying a peaceful night.