Anthony Paul Ferrera on Thursday walked barefoot on the streets near two Palm Beach Gardens schools wielding a shotgun and carrying two backpacks with drugs, money and masks inside.
The 19-year-old Jupiter resident’s mission: To rob drug dealers as a “favor” to police, his arrest report quotes him as saying to city police.
On Friday morning, Ferrera appeared in court for the first time to face charges of drug possession, carrying a weapon openly and resisting arrest. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Caroline Shepherd ordered him held in the county jail until he is evaluated by a mental-health specialist.
Ferrera’s actions Thursday morning forced the lockdown of Timber Trace Elementary and Watson B. Duncan Middle schools for more than an hour as investigators searched for him. K-9 units and even a helicopter joined in the search.
An armed Ferrera was spotted near the schools’s hared campus on 117th Court North, near the intersection of PGA and Central boulevards. He then wandered nearly a mile north to the intersection of Central Boulevard and Hood Road with shotgun in hand. Ferrera later dropped the gun and backpacks filled with drugs, ammunition and more near Hood Road, the arrest report said.
Inside the backpacks, officers found 122 grams of marijuana, 59 Xanax pills, $280, cigars, two masks similar to those used in the movie “Scream,” clothing and a small makeup bag with 12 shotgun shells and .22-caliber rounds, police say.
Ferrera also told officers he did all of this as a “favor” to police. He said he robs drug dealers, then sells the drugs for money, the report said.
Ferrera told officers he panicked when he heard the sounds of a helicopter overhead. He took his clothes off and jumped into a nearby body of water, although police didn’t specify which one.
The shotgun Ferrera toted was reported stolen in November in a car burglary, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office records. Ferrera told officers he bought the shotgun for $200 from a man on Blue Heron Boulevard in Riviera Beach.
Ferrera has no criminal history in Florida. Shepherd said she took that into consideration before ordering he be held in the Palm Beach County Jail.