Jail time or Facebook Live apology? Cocoa thief picks public shame

Cocoa Village smoke shop owner offers crook a choice

COCOA, Fla. – Would you rather go to jail or confess to your crime on Facebook Live? That's what an accused thief had to choose between after a Cocoa shop owner said he caught him in the act of stealing. 

Bohemian Lair owner Bo Larsen said in his Facebook Live video posted Monday, Tyler Stanley stole from his smoke shop in Cocoa Village at the same time he applied for a job.

"My name is Tyler Stanley and I made the biggest mistake of my life," Stanley said during his live-streamed public apology. "I could have had a great job."

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The four-minute Facebook Live confession was shared hundreds of times before Larsen deleted the video Tuesday.

"You've got a 100 people watching you right now," Larsen said to Stanley.

"That's fine," Stanley responded. "I wish it was a million."

Larsen said on Saturday, Stanley came in and applied for a job and in the same visit, he stole something.

Stanley returned Monday to learn he was caught on surveillance camera.

With Cocoa police on site, he admitted stealing but also said he didn't remember because he said he's bipolar.

"I really don't remember doing that. I would have never done that if I was in my right mind," Stanley told Larsen.

Bohemian Lair told News 6 the video was deleted because it attracted more attention than Larsen wanted.

"The next time you're going to steal from someone, don't fill out an application," Larsen told Stanley.

"I'm one of the biggest losers. I wish I remember doing it," Stanley said.

Stanley is now banned from most smoke shops around Cocoa. Rather than being arrested, he was cited for trespassing.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.