DOCUMENT: Stupid, Crime

Felony Charge For Leaf Blower Rage Incident

Cops: Man threatened to shoot noisy neighbor, dog

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Leaf Blower Rage

MARCH 9--Wearing a bathrobe and a holster on his hip, the owner of a $1.1 million Florida home threatened to shoot his next-door neighbor and the man’s dog in retaliation for the victim's 7:45 AM leaf blowing, according to police.

Investigators allege that Curtis Manfred Franz, 51, initially fired a pistol into the air seven times yesterday morning as a neighbor on Sunnybrook Lane in Largo used a blower to remove leaves from his roof.

Minutes after hearing the gunfire, the neighbor told police, Franz appeared in his backyard holding a firearm. Franz, the 53-year-old victim recalled, told him to stop using the leaf blower and “then pointed his pistol at the victim’s dog and said, ‘I’m going to shoot your fucking dog,’” according to an arrest affidavit.

Franz then told the victim, “If you keep using your blower I will shoot you too,” police allege. The neighbor told cops that Franz “was wearing a robe and had a black holster on his right hip.”

It is unclear whether Franz was perturbed by the noise of the leaf blower or leaves being sent onto his property (or both).

When officers contacted Franz, he was in a robe and “appeared to be intoxicated by odor and slurred speech.” Investigators recovered seven shell casings from near the property line dividing Franz’s 1.27 acre lot and the victim’s home.

Pictured above, Franz was arrested for aggravated assault, a felony, and discharging a firearm in public, a misdemeanor. Franz was released last night from the county jail after posting $5150 bond.

Franz purchased his 4422-square-foot home for $1.1 million in March 2021. Built in 1961, the five-bedroom residence is an “architectural sanctuary” built in the style of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, according to a recent real estate listing. Along with its “lush tropical grounds,” the home has a Koi pond, handball court, and safe room. (2 pages)