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Homeless man arrested for living in luxury suite of Tampa Bay soccer stadium

3 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Monday, August 17 2020 Aug 17, 2020 August 17, 2020 9:14 AM August 17, 2020 in News
Source: CNN
Daniel Albert Neja Photo: CNN

TAMPA, Florida - When economic challenges become especially ardous, some resort to questionable methods of survival.

Unfortunately, one man in Florida decided to pursue a method of survival that ended in his arrest .

According to CNN, a homeless man in Florida allegedly stole up to $1,200 of merchandise and food while living in the luxury suite of a Tampa Bay soccer stadium for over two weeks, police said.

An employee of AI Lang Stadium discovered blankets and quickly realized that 39-year-old man named Daniel Albert Neja had been living there.
Unfortunately, the space Neja chose was already taken as it is home to the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer club.
Neja stole up to $1,000 worth of merchandise from the team store as well as $200 worth of food items, according to St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez.
"He got into the merchandise store and was wearing a bunch of team merchandise," Fernandez told reporters. "He made himself quite at home there."
Using surveillance footage, police determined that Neja had been living in the luxury suite since July 26. Neja was arrested shortly after officers got to the stadium, according to Fernandez.
"While the officers were there, one of the employees spotted him and went into the stadium, and officers caught up with him right outside the stadium and he was wearing the same clothing and everything," Fernandez said.
Neja was arrested on charges of third-degree felony burglary and a first-degree misdemeanor of resisting an officer without violence and his bond is currently set at $5,150, according to jail records.
It's not clear whether Neja has legal representation at this time.
Fernandez said that something as unusual as this would not happen under normal circumstances.
"It's very unusual and it's the sort of thing that probably would only happen during Covid, because under normal circumstances that stadium would be full of people, and luxury suites would be in use and cleaned regularly," she said.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies play in the USL Championship, the second-tier US soccer league behind Major League Soccer. The current club was founded in 2008 but it shares its name and logo with the original Tampa Bay Rowdies.

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