Monday, September 28, 2020
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Ocala

Singing Belleview man nabbed for refusing to leave store and damaging Virgin Mary statue

A homeless Belleview man was arrested twice Wednesday – once for refusing to leave a business and another time for criminal mischief at a church.

A Belleview Police officer was called to Kent Furniture, located at 10651 U.S. Hwy. 441, in reference to a suspicious person. When he arrived a short time later, he spotted 27-year-old Drew Jonathan Furnish sitting on furniture next to the store’s loading bays while yelling and singing loudly, a police report states, adding that the officer recognized Furnish from previous encounters.

Drew Jonathan Furnish was arrested Wednesday after refusing to leave Kent Furniture and then being accused of damaging a statue of the Virgin Mary at St. Paul Parish National Catholic Church.

Furnish told the officer he was just signing while he waited for something but refused to elaborate. The store’s owner said Furnish had been screaming and singing for the past 30 minutes and he wanted him trespassed from the business, the report says.

Furnish was given a notice and the officer explained that he was being trespassed from the furniture store. He said he had received a similar notice from another business and understood what was happening. But he refused to sign the paperwork, the report says.

Furnish told the officer that he wanted to go to Wildwood, so he offered to drive him there. But he continued to say he was waiting for something and sat back down in a seat next to the loading dock. The officer told him that he had 30 seconds to leave or he would be arrested for trespassing, but he said he had to wait for something and the officer didn’t have the authority to arrest him for trespassing.

After the 30 seconds passed, the officer gave Furnish one more opportunity to leave. He refused to do so and was taken into custody and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he was charged with trespassing.

Later Wednesday afternoon, the officer was called to St. Paul Parish National Catholic Church, located at 5245 SE 112th St. The church’s priest told the officer that he had seen a man with a dog stop in front of the church and push over a statue of the Virgin Mary, which caused $350 in damage.

The priest provided the officer with a photo from video surveillance of the man, who was white, had long blonde hair and a scruffy blonde beard and was wearing a blue shirt, brown shorts. The man, who the officer recognized to be Furnish, was walking a white-and-brown pit bull with a pink collar. The officer noted that Furnish was wearing the same clothing when he arrested him earlier in the day.

Furnish also was charged with criminal mischief at a church, synagogue, mosque or religious article and was held on $2,500 bond. His next court date hasn’t yet been set.

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