Florida Man Stole and Demolished Car But Insisted it was Done “In Good Faith” Effort to Find His Own Car

Bradford Weitzel, of Port St. Lucie, has a novel concept of self-help remedies in the law. Weitzel, 33, stole the car of Jose William Ceballos and then left it stuck on a train track where it was subsequently demolished. He later explained that he could not find his own car and stole Ceballos’ Honda Fit “in good faith” to find it. It turns out that that is not a viable criminal defense.

According to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Weitzel was charged with grand theft and criminal mischief, though additional charges are expected.

Weitzel reportedly told deputies that he could not find his own car after leaving a local bar so decided to steal another car in “good faith” to drive around to look for his own car. He then said the Honda stopped dead on the tracks as a train was approaching. The led to the car being demolished and tossed to the side of a nearby house.

He was not, however, done with his self-help remedies. He is accused of then vandalizing a nearby fruit stand and attempting to steal a forklift.

He then flagged down deputies to say that he was still looking for his car.

Methinks a guilty plea is in Weitzel’s future.


18 thoughts on “Florida Man Stole and Demolished Car But Insisted it was Done “In Good Faith” Effort to Find His Own Car”

  1. But for the fact that he probably did all this while drunk, I would have thought he’d watched one too many Hollywood movies. “Borrowing” a car is exactly what the action heroes always do when in a bind. You’d think this guy was capable of putting the car in neutral and pushing it off the tracks. Or maybe not steal it in the first place.

    That’s the problem with getting drunk. Really dumb ideas sound brilliant.

    I feel sorry for the owners of the car and the house.

  2. In a way, Bradford Weitzel was behaving no different than governments. Governments use their power over the working class to steal their money under the guise of “taxation,” to fund their own corrupt enterprises. The governments then squander the funds to enrich the elite power players behind the politicians, as well as the politicians themselves via graft and insider dealings. In the end, the crimes are essentially alike. Property is stolen, used for the personal pleasure of those with the power to steal the property, and then destroyed.

  3. Something similar happened to my husband. One morning on his way to a job site, a man intentionally sideswiped his car, causing it to flip over. The car was totalled and my husband was injured, but not seriously. The man came up to my husband afterward and said that his son had a red Volkswagen that was stolen that morning, and so he thought my husband’s red Volkswagen was his son’s car. When the police came, he admitted sideswiping my husband’s car on purpose. The officer, who was very wise, told my husband that if you report this as an intentional act, there will be NO insurance coverage, and, based on the address where this man lived, they probably didn’t have any money. This was before mandatory uninsured motorist coverage. The policeman said that he’d leave it up to my husband whether to call it an intentional act or accident. He chose the latter and the claim got paid.

      1. You can be sure at the time that this incident occurred that the insurance company could have investigated the crash, and would not have merely relied on Natacha’s husband judgment as to whether the crash was an intentional act of an accident. Given the insurance company’s decision to pay the claim in full, treating the vehicle as totaled, the company’s adjusters surely examined the possibilities and chose to pay the claim as the best option under the circumstances.

      2. JOJO: why would we repay the insurance company of the man who caused the crash? My husband did nothing wrong, and is entitled to have a replacement car. He easily could have been killed. All and all, considering that this happened on an interstate highway and that the car was a Volkswagen (the beetle type), and that it was rush hour, it’s lucky he didn’t get killed or hit another car, resulting in injuries to other innocent motorists. As I recall, the insurance company never even interviewed my husband. We have no way of knowing what their insured told them, and didn’t care. They inspected the car at the junkyard and paid the fair market value. The cop did not arrest or charge the man after advising my husband that if he didn’t want it treated as a crime that would be fine with him. If anyone owes the insurance company, it’s the man who caused the crash.

        1. Natacha, so, what you’re saying is, that you were entitled to lie to the insurance company to defraud them…for money. Because…reasons.

          It was more convenient for you to commit fraud than to do things the right way. You just admitted to millions of people that you committed insurance fraud.

          1. Although Natacha and I disagree entirely on political matters, based on the car crash that she described, neither Natacha nor her husband defrauded the insurance company. Whether the person who actually caused the crash intended to hit Natacha’s husband’s vehicle or crashed into his vehicle by accident was a matter for the insurance company’s adjusters to investigate. They certainly had the opportunity to interview the person actually responsible for the crash and the police officer filing the report, for example, to aid in their decision as to how to proceed on the claim, if they had an concerns about fraud. The insurance company’s adjusters likely did investigate and ultimately concluded that there was no fraud.

          2. Lously following this
            But let’s face it insurance cojoanies do fraud ever day. They admit guilt and settle everyday… We’re juries would not find guilt. Ppl shod hold their company to good faith…but arbitration forbids it. Just saying we are to far gone.

  4. “Florida Man Stole and Demolished Car But Insisted it was Done “In Good Faith” Effort to Find His Own Car”

    – Professor Turley

    “Illinois Man Stole and Demolished Nation But Insisted It Was Done ‘In Good Faith’ Effort to Save the Nation.”

    – Chicago Times

    The International Workingmen’s Association 1864
    Address of the International Working Men’s Association to Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America
    Presented to U.S. Ambassador Charles Francis Adams
    January 28, 1865

    Comrade Dear Abraham Lincoln,

    “The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world.”


    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels


  5. Words of advice for this guy

    “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Dean Wormer

  6. He needs a prosecutor like in the Minnesota conviction of Montez Terriel Lee, a BLM rioter who burned down a pawn shop, killing a 30 yr old man who was caught inside. The prosecutor urged leniency in sentencing because the ‘social justice intent’ behind the crime should matter.

  7. I guess the joke about Honda owners is true.
    What do Honda owners and a bottle of beer have in common? Their both empty from the neck up.

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