Steve Romet, 32, was driving north in a Chevy Impala on I-95 Thursday (Dec. 17), just past the intersection with State Road 100 in Palm Coast, when the “extremely dark, side window tint” caught the attention of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper observing vehicles from the median.
By the time the traffic stop was over, Romet, a resident of Old Kings Road in Jacksonville, was facing three drug charges, including possession and sale of marijuana and use of a weapon in the commission of a felony, the latter a first-degree felony. The arrest report does not clarify how Romet was selling pot as he drove north on I-95. He only got a warning for the tint.
When the trooper asking Romet for his papers, “I watched him fumble through his wallet with extremely shaky hands,” the trooper reported. A criminal check on Romet revealed that he had an arrest history, including weapons and marijuana possession and a burglary charge. Another trooper was dispatched with a K-9 unit, which sniffed something in the trunk.
Romet told troopers that he lent his car to friends, who smoke weed. When asked if there was a gun in the car, Romet paused and said there was a magazine for a gun. Asked again if there were weapons in the vehicle, Romet said he had a rifle, for which he had a permit, though he was not carrying his permit with him. The trunk was opened, and trooper noticed an EXP 556 assault rifle with pistol grip, which Romet said he carried for personal protection. Troopers also found a “loaded extended magazine containing 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition.” Romet said he didn’t know where the gun was that the magazine belonged to.
A search of the car then produced 165 grams of marijuana in two separate containers, one of them a plastic food saver bag, the other an ordinary plastic bag. Romet said he had no idea who the drugs belonged to and didn’t know the marijuana had been in the car.
Troopers then made an odd discovery: a piece of fishing line had been tied to the interior safety trunk release latch. “It appeared,” the arrest report states, “that the trunk was rigged so that someone could ride in the trunk with the capability of making an easy exit.” Romet said the string was there because the release button on the dash did not work, “which I found to be false,” the trooper reported.
John’s Towing towed the Chevy, and Romet was taken to the Flagler County jail, where he was booked on $11,000 bond on one first-degree felony charge, two third-degree felony charges, and a first-degree misdemeanor. He posted bail and was released.
Dark window tint? The cop cars are so dark you can’t see inside. Easier to sleep or do whatever.
I completely disagree with this type of law enforcement.
It’s only a problem if your rolling dirty.Good job FHP!
We’ll they have been using this excuse for years. I’ve been pulled over twice and had to show them my paperwork to show that my tint was legal. Not a big deal to myself but it is a pain in the butt.
It’s called proactive policing. They got a criminal and a weapon off the street, for a little while anyhow.
Gee eye says
Hypocritical cops at its finest. Why are they allowed to have limo tint but the rest of Florida cannot? It is extremely bright in Florida and gets very hot. Dark tint is needed. Cops have it, why can’t everyone else? And what’s the big deal about fishing string on the safety hatch??? What do they think? Someone’s going to just be riding around in the trunk????? For what purpose? Makes absolutely no sense. Quick escape? From what? A quick escape would be from the doors not a trunk…
James w says
Criminals are stupid. Ride with your music down and don’t tint your windows. I don’t care how they caught the criminal. He’s a damn criminal. If he were a wanted child molester people would praise the officers for pulling him over because of dark tint. Do the crime = do the time. Period.
Good police work, keep these thugs off the street. I’m not a big fan of the Sheriff’s dark windowss, but I’m guessing it’s so the deputy can see the computer screen without a glare.
This man was no doubt either buying drugs, selling drugs or just up to NO good. Good call.
Gee eye says
I’ve been pulled 6x in my few years of living here for window tint. It’s a bit excessive if you ask me. Waste of tax payers dollars.
Driving while Black.
Glooby Gloob says
Now in the statute there is an exception to the tint law for police, but it’s specifically for “law enforcement vehicles used in undercover or canine operations”. Local police departments in recent years seem to have misinterpreted the intent of the law to mean that every single marked police cruiser can be tinted pitch dark.
It’s explained away as being for officer safety and comfort, which begs the question, does not the regular citizen have a right to dark windows for safety and comfort? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Florida is very strict on the level of darkness in window tint that it allows. In fact, most tint jobs you see are slightly darker than what’s allowed and the car owners are completely oblivious to this fact. It’s great that a drug dealer was caught but as an aside, the tint law and the way it’s enforced is problematic.
Why do these judges set such a low bail out for these criminals to get released. This guy was charged with a first degree felony, 2 third degree felonies and a first degree misdemeanor. $11,000 bond? Now he is back on the street. Time to get rid of the liberal judges.
THE CASE IS OVER AS OF TODAY…HE STILL DOES NOT I REPEAT DOES NOT HAVE ANY FELONIES AND HAS RECEIVED ALL OF HIS WEAPONS BACK. THIS PARTICULAR OFFICER WAS PROFILING AS THE MAJORITY OF NON AFRICAN AMERICAN LAW ENFORCEMENT DO. MR. ROMET IS NOT THE CRIMINAL THEY HAVE TRIED TO PORTRAY HIM AS.