Florida authorities are trying to track down a man they say swung a samurai sword at a jogger over a dispute involving curbside junk in Oakland Park.
Footage of the entire incident, which was captured by the jogger Todd Beavers’ home surveillance system, has since been released by officials in a hope they can track down the mysterious sword-swinging trash-picker.
On July 15, Beavers out for some exercise in his neighborhood, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Police say Beavers came across a bulk trash pile and had set his heart on a particular item — a black heavy duty dump cart. But there was one problem: another garbage digger, who had reportedly arrived prior to the jogger, had already laid claim the cart.
Police say Beavers took the dump cart anyway, but was followed home by the other scrap collector. Surveillance footage shows him approaching the jogger with what appears to be a red pole. The unidentified man then unsheathed a sword, and began wildly swinging it at Beavers.
“As the suspect got closer to the jogger, he removed a long sword from a red sheath and began swinging it at the jogger as he tried to wrestle the cart away,” a Broward County Sheriff’s Office press release stated. “The jogger eventually told the man the attack was being captured on video. The suspect saw the camera and retreated but threatened to return.”
"I saw a cart in the pile and I thought, 'I could use that,'" Beavers told WPLG Local 10, an ABC affiliate. "I turned behind me and he had a sword out chasing me, so I just kept running.”
Beavers was unharmed in the incident.
"I guess he could have really hurt me, and that would have been even worse," the 48-year-old added.
The surveillance footage shows Beavers, dressed in a blue T-shirt, blue bandana, and black shorts, calmly dip and dodge out of the blade’s way.
“When you look at him in the video, it looks like he’s nonchalant,” Keyla Concepción, a public information officer for Broward County Sheriff’s Office, told Oxygen.com. “You see him there on the phone, maybe he was in disbelief. You just don’t see that alarm evident in the video.”
The swordsman retreated after Beavers pointed out the entire incident was being filmed. Beavers left the dump cart in front of his house and disappeared from the frame. But the bizarre saga wasn’t over. Moments later, a woman, not previously pictured, appears on-screen, and drags the dump cart away, as she “flung insults at the jogger.”
Investigators haven’t identified the woman either but think she may know the swordsman. However, Concepción noted authorities are also looking into the possibility the woman was the original owner of the dump cart, who had laid out her belongings for a garage sale, which had been mistaken for trash by both Beavers and the unknown swordsman.
“The details right now are a little bit in flux,” Concepción said.
Concepción called the altercation an “overreaction.” She noted that sword attacks in her county are rare.
“It’s not every day you see one person attacking another person with a sword, especially over an item that’s been trashed,” Concepción explained. “I don’t think I’ve seen a sword attack before. Who walks around with a sword? Not everybody you encounter is out and about carrying a sword. It’s not a common site, unless you’re at a samurai convention. It’s odd.”
Nonetheless, the sheriff’s office spokesperson was unnerved after watching the video of the incident.
“It was shocking to see that someone actually had a sword readily at his disposal to attack someone else with,” she added. “We don’t know the condition of the sword. But assuming the sword is in good condition, you could potentially end up killing someone.”
Beavers didn’t respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
Broward Crime Stoppers are offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the unidentified swordsman.
“It's currently and actively under investigation,” Concepción said. “We’re really hoping after all the press that this story got that someone comes forward and helps us identify the man.”
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