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Man with machete forces victim to steal beer, deputies say

Deputies: Man stole victim's bicycle

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MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – A Cocoa Beach man was arrested Thursday night after he held a machete to another man and forced him to give him his bicycle and steal him beer, Brevard County deputies said.

Deputies said a man was in his friend's boat near Molly's Seafood Shack in Merritt Island when Michael Laplante, 51, came over with a duffel bag and approached the man.

Laplante asked the man if his friend was in the boat and the man told him that he was not. Laplante then asked who the red bicycle at the front of the boat belonged to, to which the man replied that it was his, according to the arrest report.

The man told deputies that Laplante then took a machete out of his duffel bag and forced him to take the bike out of the boat and bring it to a nearby area, which he did out of fear, deputies said.

Laplante then demanded the victim go into the Walmart at the 1500 block of East Merritt Island Causeway and steal two six-packs of beer, deputies said. The victim then walked across the Walmart parking lot and into another store in the same plaza to call 911, according to the report.

Deputies said they later found a machete that matched the description the victim provided them, as well as the red bicycle, in Laplante's camp.

Laplante told deputies that nothing happened, but later changed his story and said the victim gave him the bicycle and threatened him with the machete, deputies said.

Deputies arrested Laplante on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping, according to the report. He was taken to the Brevard County Jail.


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