Strange things happened after he was locked out of his motel room

A St. Augustine man remains in county jail in the Florida Keys after embarking on a bizarre journey because he was angry his motel room key didn’t work, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Michael Bruce Benet, 62, is being held on a $16,000 bond on charges of burglary, larceny and hindering firefighters or emergency equipment. Monroe County sheriff’s deputies arrested him Wednesday morning.

According to an arrest report, security camera footage at the Sunset Inn on the bay side of U.S. 1 at mile marker 82 shows Benet opening the door to the office in the lobby at 11:04 Tuesday night. Six minutes later, he is seen on the footage walking out holding an iPad and a credit card machine, according to the report.

Michael Benet.jpg
Michael Bruce Benet MCSO

A few minutes later, another camera shows Benet walking by an ice machine and toward a glass case that holds a fire extinguisher. According to Deputy Addison Lapradd’s report, Benet broke the glass, grabbed the extinguisher and discharged it “for no apparent reason.”

Deputies went to Benet’s room Wednesday morning. He was sleeping, but the manager let the two deputies in his room. They woke Benet up and ordered him out of bed.

He told deputies he was angry because his room key repeatedly did not work. After going into the office at the Sunset Inn and finding no one there, he drove to the Blue Finn Inn, which is less than a mile away, where he booked a room for the night.

The next day, he noticed the iPad and credit card machine in his car.

“He did not remember anything about the fire extinguisher,” Lapradd wrote in his report.

Benet told police he decided to go get breakfast at the Wooden Spoon, a popular restaurant in Marathon, which is more than 30 miles south from the motels. On the way down, he threw the credit card machine over the fence of a boat dealership at mile marker 81, Lapradd wrote in his report.

After breakfast, he drove back to the Sunset Inn, and on the way, he threw the iPad out of his car window, Lapradd wrote.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.