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New Year's celebrations lead to variety of alcohol-related arrests

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jan 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-02 22:18:10-05

With New Year's falling on a weekend this year, law enforcement in southwest Florida were even more prepared for people to be out celebrating the holiday.

"A New Year's Eve type of holiday is always going to bring out the partiers. Over the weekend, it being a weekend, it's even more so," Cpl. Phil Mullen of Cape Coral Police said.

With the "double whammy," officers were out in full force.

Airport Police at Southwest Florida International Airport arrested Peter Leibundgut on New Year's Eve, saying he was so drunk and disorderly, he interrupted aircraft operations during his flight from Atlantic City. Leibundgut was arguing with his wife, and crew said it got so bad, flight attendants couldn't perform their duties.

Leibundgut's wife told police he had four drinks at dinner before the flight, then four bottles of vodka aboard the plane.

"That's crazy," Amber Lechner of Lehigh Acres said. "I know you can buy alcohol bottles on airplanes but I don't know how someone could possibly have eight."

Also put behind bars on New Year's Eve: Thomas Crews and Christopher Beyor, both 46, of Cape Coral.

"They snatched a purse at Rack'em Billiards, then walked down the street to Backstreets and tried to use the giftcards, credit cards that they got from the stolen purse to keep drinking," Cpl. Mullen said.

Cpl. Mullen said a woman was also in on the scheme, and charges are pending against her.

In Lee County, there were at least 15 DUI arrests on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Two of those arrests were out of Cape Coral.

"Two DUIs in a city of over 160,000 plus, we're pretty happy with that," Cpl. Mullen said.

In Collier County, there were 13 DUI arrests. In Charlotte County, there were four.

"I'm not surprised, but I'm disappointed. You can expect that, but you'd think people would be smarter," Lechner said.