Woman Set Ablaze. Florida Fines Her.

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

On Monday, a Florida woman was set on fire by her spurned boyfriend in the parking lot of a gas station.

According to MSNBC, a few days later, Florida officials told Naomie Breton she’d have to pay the $340 towing fee to have her car removed from the gas station parking lot. Better yet, the state is also charging her the $363 fee to tow the car of the man who tried to kill her, plus his $25-per-day late fees. Turns out the two of them had bought the car together. So her name is on the title. And he can’t pay, because he’s in jail for trying to kill her.

She had tried to get a restraining order against the boyfriend. A Florida judge turned her down.

The government is here to help you, Ms. Breton.

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35 Responses to “Woman Set Ablaze. Florida Fines Her.”

  1. #1 |  Vic Kelley | 

    FL is a pathetic place. We don’t have a state income tax. To fund the beast we have Lotto and speeding tickets. And very high court costs if god forbid you ever get caught up in our criminal justice system. Get arrested for arguing with your wife? If you plead out you’ll get sentenced to some kind of counseling which you’ll have to pay for. I could go on & on.

    I don’t know why people continue to move here. If Ms. Breton is lucky someone in her family will scrape up the $ for her car before the salvage yard gets a lien on it or gets a title for it and just auctions it.

  2. #2 |  Pi Guy | 

    Let this be a lesson to all of you then: it just doesn’t pay to let yourself be lit on fire in FL.

    Now, in the great State of O’MalleyLand, where I live, at least the cops will show up and rough you up a bit, maybe tase you a couple of times, and then you’d be safely behind bars where you, like your firesetter, could not earn an income either.

    So, next time you’re about to be incinerated by a spurned lover, just remember to hi-tail it to MD. You’re better off here.

  3. #3 |  len (not the one you hate) | 

    This is remarkably sad. Get guns, ladies. Get guns and learn how to shoot!

  4. #4 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Breton told the Palm Beach Post from her Lantana, Fla., home that she wouldn’t have been attacked if Palm Beach County Judge Thomas Barkdyll had granted her a restraining order in late May.”

    With respect, Ms. Breton gives restraining orders way, way too much credit. The commited, possessive batterer will treat the R.O. like–you guessed it–“just a god damn piece of paper.” Worse, the thug may use the R.O. as a rationale for escalating the intimidation and violence. It is not a coincidence that numerous women have been murdered at court houses while sorting out the details of R.O.’s. In the “Gift of Fear,” Gavin De Becker goes into considerable detail explaining the disadvantages of restraint orders. This book is worth a read by anyone, especially an abused woman.

    Len (#3) advocates that women “get guns” and that is certainly an option. Real self-defense training (not sport/MMA style “fighting”) and/or consultation with security professionals (not necessarily cops) should also be considered if feasible. Ultimately, women have to have enough of a sense of self-worth to say that they do not deserve this and that they will not tolerate encroachment on their rights by anyone, let alone some abusive asshole of a boyfriend/husband. Developing this sense of self-worth is often the challenge for victims of domestic abuse.

  5. #5 |  Mairead | 

    Now how did I know, without even looking at her photo, that Ms Breton is Black.

    Could it be because it’s Florida?

  6. #6 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #5 Mairead:


  7. #7 |  Pi Guy | 

    “#5 Mairead:


    Seconded. WTF, Mairead? Not sure if you’re implying that, ipso facto, battering boyfriend’s black so this was bound to happen or that she deserved this b/c of it but you sure got some splainin to do…

  8. #8 |  mad libertarian guy | 

    @4 Helmut

    security professionals (not necessarily cops)

    No need for redundancy.

  9. #9 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #8 mad libertarian guy:
    “No need for redundancy”

    Noted. I probably didn’t need to add that for many Agitator commenters. But, many people assume that police are the experts in protection. In fact, they usually just generate reports and crank out citations. And, of course, they rarely get into genuine crime prevention.

  10. #10 |  Ghost | 

    This shit is all too common. My buddy was hit by a drunk driver, which spun his car across three lanes of traffic before it flipped over the guardrail. When he came out of his COMA a month and a half later, he found that he had an arrest warrant issued for him. He had missed his court date. For what, you ask? Well, he had been ticketed for CHANGING LANES WITHOUT SIGNALLING AND RECKLESS DRIVING for letting his car spin in circles after he got hit.

    Trust me. I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.

  11. #11 |  ms1170 | 

    What good is a restraining order against someone who wants to kill you. I would think it would just make them madder.

  12. #12 |  derfel cadarn | 

    What ever happened to basic human decency? It is incidents like this that constantly reassure me that my deep aversion to government is fully justified.

  13. #13 |  Anthony | 


    The law doesn’t require a bureaucrat to be a decent human being.

  14. #14 |  JSL | 

    What does it say about me that when I read this I just started laughing?

    Oh well, just another example of how “when seconds count, the police are minutes away” and that a restraining order or peace/protection order aren’t good for anything.

  15. #15 |  Mark Z. | 

    Get guns, ladies. Get guns and learn how to shoot!

    Yeah, that’s a great plan when someone is dousing you with gasoline.

  16. #16 |  croaker | 

    Apparently in Florida you have to be an asshole to be selected as law enforcement.

  17. #17 |  ShelbyC | 

    I don’t get it. Who should pay to have her cars towed?

  18. #18 |  plutosdad | 

    This happens all the time. The problem is no one tells crime victims they can be reimbursed. She needs to check out this site or have someone help her fill out this paperwork:


    yes in a perfect world there would be no charges assessed at all.

  19. #19 |  Herb | 

    The fees are coming from Zuccala’s Wrecker Service, the company that towed her car. Private companies…they’re here to help you, Mr. Balko.

  20. #20 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @12 – Where does the constitution use those words?

    Well, then.

  21. #21 |  C.E. | 

    Well look, I’m don’t want to play devil’s advocate, but my guess is that there is a process by which towing companies bill the state, and the state automatically turns around and bills the owners of vehicles. The towing company just wants to be paid. The state passes the bill through to the car owner. The bill was probably sent out by computer. It’s not like some government official saw what happened to this poor woman and decided, “Well, if she’s going to get herself lit on fire, then she needs to pay for the towing!” The article doesn’t say that the matter has even been brought to the attention of anyone responsible for sending her the bill.

    I’m not saying that it’s OK to bill her. I’m just saying that it’s probably not an intentional, callous act.

  22. #22 |  CyniCAl | 

    I just love it when State agents behave this way. It makes it so clear to everyone involved just what they’re all about. And this is the State in all its glory. There simply is no defending it.

  23. #23 |  Laura | 

    That’s Florida, the someting-for-nothing state dominated by people who lived off the government one way or another all their lives, and now want to retire with tax cuts for themsleves and a balanced state budget by screwing over everyone else.

    Conservatism is a rationale for selfishness. And all too often libertarianism is an excuse for being a conservative.

  24. #24 |  supercat | 

    #11 | ms1170 | “What good is a restraining order against someone who wants to kill you. I would think it would just make them madder.”

    The proper function of a restraining order obtained by X against Y is to put Y on notice that if Y seeks out X, and X shoots Y, the shooting will be considered self-defense, and thus if Y does not wish to get shot he should avoid X.

  25. #25 |  plutosdad | 

    I asked my fiance about this (she is a criminal defense attorney) and she says the police have victim advocates that will usually tell the person yes you will get billed for damage and emergency services, but here are the forms to fill out so the govt will pay them for you. Bills don’t get sent directly to the government. I guess this is just easier for them since so many of these services are contracted out. Having worked on plenty of billing systems in IT, it is no small task to add special codes and processing for crime victims. And to have everyone that contracts with the county or city do that would be well pretty expensive and it would probably get screwed up.

    The problem in this case is that the police did not let her know to expect this and how to get it paid. well that’s one of the problems.

  26. #26 |  Woog | 

    There’s another victim here: the gas station owner. Some violent sociopath attacked someone, and part of the fallout is a vehicle stranded someplace it shouldn’t be.

    Nothing is free, and if both the sociopath and the primary victim’s names are on the title, well, welcome to the world of debt collection – it ain’t pretty nowheres.

  27. #27 |  Mattocracy | 

    “The fees are coming from Zuccala’s Wrecker Service, the company that towed her car. Private companies…they’re here to help you’

    I could just as easily say that the state is at fault for one, not flipping the bill and then have the attacker reimburse the state or two, telling Zuccala to bill the attacker themselves.

  28. #28 |  JThompson | 

    @#27: Well yeah, the state could force Zuccala to bill the attacker instead of the victim, but that would be “Teh Evil Government Interfering With The Free Market”, which is always wrong.

  29. #29 |  parsimon | 

    The government is here to help you, Ms. Breton.

    You know, this conclusion — or the reverse that’s implied by the sarcasm — isn’t warranted.

    If I may be permitted to indulge in an analogy, it’s as though you got scammed by an auto repair shop and decided that that meant that you should never go to a repair shop, and in fact we should do away with repair shops altogether.

  30. #30 |  StrangeOne | 

    Parismon, you’re analogy has nothing to do with Radley’s claims. Hes not an anarchist and has never advocated the total elimination of government.

    A better analogy is if everyone operated under the assumption that auto-repair shops were always honest and helpful. But if you pay attention you notice that many auto-repair shops are frequently disingenuous and rude. You then make a blog pointing out as many bad auto-repair shops as you can find. Then when you mock the common belief in the universal integrity of auto-repair shops some wise ass comes along and declares that you think “we should do away with repair shops altogether”. Even though you have never advocated this, nor would any reasonable person imply as such from your posts on the subject.

  31. #31 |  parsimon | 

    Thanks for the clarification, StrangeOne. I admit I don’t think Radley believes in doing away with all government, or all police forces, but I confess I was frustrated by the closing line, which seemed, indeed, to suggest that your government is not (ever) here to help you.

    It’s part of a larger frustration: Radley’s work in documenting police abuses is very welcome and necessary, but every once in a while I feel as though it’s a constant barrage of things done wrong, with very little, or no, acknowledgment of what’s done right, what’s valuable and helpful and essential. It can feed into the increasingly prevalent sentiment among champions of the private sector that public sector workers are always corrupt, bloated, and leech-like. And that is simply not the case.

  32. #32 |  Marcus | 

    Obviously this appears to be a very stupid and callous move by the FL government. But lets look at this a different way for a second. It seems most people are looking for a result driven action by the gov.

    Assuming that you do not object to the towing company getting paid for towing, and further assuming that you do not think the property owner/business operator should be on the hook for the charges, who SHOULD be? Obviously the emotional reaction is that the victim should not get this bill, but how does the gov make that happen?

    Does the group sending the bill, which is not the cops or the mayor office, but some groups that gets invoices from XYZ towing company, and by statute/ordinance/law has to invoice the owners individually and severally for those charges. Should this group also initiate an investigation to find why the car was there, and what happened to the owners? How much would this investigation cost? Is it reasonable to expect this level of investigation? Is it reasonable to lay this at the feet of the government? The tow truck driver probably had a good idea what happened, as they were at the scene, should they have eaten the cost?

  33. #33 |  Militant Libertarian » Woman Set Ablaze. Florida Fines Her. | 

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