FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A man was stripped naked, beaten and hog-tied all because someone thought he'd stolen marijuana, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said the 21-year-old victim was at an apartment on Hernandez Avenue around 3 a.m. Wednesday with Peter Palazzotto and several other people, and when he returned from buying alcohol at a nearby gas station, Palazzotto began accusing him of stealing marijuana.
Although the victim insisted that he didn't take the drugs, Palazzotto continually questioned him then stripped him naked to search for the marijuana, which he didn't find, according to the report.
Deputies said the victim tried to get dressed and leave after the strip search, but Palazzotto grabbed him and hog-tied him with a surfboard leash.
Palazzotto and others repeatedly kicked the victim and hit the victim in the head, according to the affidavit. Others filmed and ridiculed the victim during the attack.
Authorities said the assault ended when Palazzotto stole the victim's iPhone X along with $300 from his wallet then told him to "get the (expletive) out."
The victim walked to a convenience store where he called for help. Deputies said the victim suffered scratches on his face and neck, a bump on his head and marks on his wrist.
Palazzotto was initially uncooperative when deputies tried to interview him. Eventually, he threw the victim's phone out his front door and claimed that the victim was being belligerent, according to the affidavit.
Photos of the victim were found on a witness' phone, authorities said.
“This victim was lucky to walk away with his life,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Thankfully he was able to get to a safe place and the store clerk called us immediately. This is a reminder of the dangers when you associate with others in the illegal drug world. Not much good happens at 3:30 in the morning when drugs and alcohol are involved.”
Palazzotto was arrested on charges of kidnapping, battery by strangulation, grand theft and robbery.