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He was bounced from a Keys bar. Then he tried to kick his way back in, cops say.

Dustin Messenger
Dustin Messenger Monroe County Sherrif's Office

A Keys man who was kicked out of a bar this month tried to kick and punch his way back in, breaking one door off of its hinges, police said.

Dustin Ray Messenger, 36, listed as homeless in Key West, was fighting with a patron inside the Purple Porpoise Pub, 1045 Coppitt Rd. on Big Coppitt Key, on Jan. 5 when the bartender bounced him from the modest dive and locked the doors to keep him out.

But Messenger tried to force his way back in, kicking in the front door and punching holes through the side door, according to the arrest report. He fled when the police showed up, only to return later and deny the allegations.

A follow-up investigation showed Messenger had damaged the doors, police said.

Messenger was arrested Tuesday.

The bar’s owner estimated the damage at about $1,200, leading police to arrest Messenger for felony criminal property damage. He remained in jail Wednesday.

Messenger’s girlfriend may be in even more trouble.

The fight started when Messenger’s girlfriend, Sally Amato, hit a woman over the head with a beer bottle, police said. She thought the woman had grabbed Messenger’s crotch, a witness told Monroe deputies.

Amato’s hand was cut — she said it was from blocking a shot glass thrown at her — and she was airlifted to a Miami hospital. Court and sheriff’s records don’t show she has been arrested.

The victim was treated at the scene for a gash on her head.

When confronted with witness statements, Amato told police someone must have slipped a mind-altering drug into her drink.

Police sought a warrant for her arrest. Amato was arrested Feb. 15 on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.
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