The Universal Orlando Resort is one of Florida’s most popular theme park destinations. Joining the likes of Walt Disney World Resort and SeaWorld, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay, and Universal CityWalk, are visited by millions every year.
While Universal, like other vacation hotspots, aims to provide an unparalleled experience such as the magical Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World, occasionally the Parks are disrupted by unusual behavior and even security presence when incidents occur. Last December, multiple Guests were detained after being seen bypassing the entrance turnstiles and thus not paying for multiple admissions.
The arrest, which happened on December 18, 2021, involved Mary Anderson, a mother from London, England, her three children, and another two unidentified Guests.
Via the Orange County Clerk’s Office, the public court documents reveal the details of the incident which happened in and around Universal Studios Orlando, with arrests being made at the brand-new Jurassic World VelociCoaster attraction at Islands of Adventure. The police report reveals what exactly happened last December at the Universal Orlando Resort.
The incident report reveals that Detective Patrick Cavanaugh was working on extra assignment duty at 6000 Universal Boulevard — more commonly known as Universal Studios, Orlando. He writes:
I was contacted by the security office and advised that earlier in the day, a group of adults and juveniles had run through the entrance turnstiles without purchasing tickets. The security manager stated that Universal Studios wished to prosecute the adults in the group and trespass them, but that they only wanted to trespass the juveniles. She stated security officers had located two juveniles and one adult in the group at the entrance to the Velocicoaster attraction.
After approaching the VelociCoaster, Detective Cavanaugh was joined by Detective D. Osso, and when making contact with the subjects at the Jurassic World-themed coaster discovered that one of the males was 18-years-old, and was placed in handcuffs. However, during the arrest, the male then told the officers he was 15-years-old. The group of three was then escorted to the security office.
The report continues:
Security officers showed me surveillance video of the incident, which showed each of the three subjects proceed through the turnstiles without having their tickets scanned by employees. They appear to be accompanied by a woman pushing a stroller, another woman wearing a red dress, a man, and a small girl wearing teal shorts, all of whom security advised did not purchase tickets.
Later, a woman, identified as Mary Anderson arrived and claimed to be the mother of the children currently detained in the security office. The Universal Guest was read her Miranda Rights but claimed her children had arrived at the Orlando theme park with another adult and that she had been “at a party all day”.
However, the truth soon began to unfold:
Security officers were able to find the video footage of a female pushing stroller with a woman in a red dress. These individuals are seen pushing through the turnstiles without having their tickets scanned. They are seen being stopped by an employee briefly, and then proceeding through the park. Security was able to capture a clear still shot of the woman pushing the stroller. I asked each of the juveniles […] who they came to the park with, and they stated with their mother, and that they would recognize her if they saw her. I showed each of them the still shot from the security camera, and they each identified her as their mother. Mary Anderson was still seated on the stairs outside of the office. I then asked each of them if the woman seated on the stairs was the same person from the picture, and they all stated that it was.
The Anderson children further identified their mother as the woman who had been seen on video footage as entering the Park with them without having their tickets scanned at the turnstiles. The report declares, “It is reasonable to believe that the children seen were under the direction of their mother.”
In a final statement on the report, the cost of the unpaid tickets as well as the charge was listed:
Officer Persad advised that the total cost of the admission fee Ms. Anderson deprived Universal Studios of was $156.00 per ticket. Ms. Anderson did not pay for her ticket, and she was also with her children […] as well as a child in a stroller who was not identified and a small girl wearing teal shorts. This would be a total cost of $936.00. Based on the entirety of this investigation, probable cause exists to charge Mary Anderson with the following violation of Florida State Statute: 812.014(2)(C)(1)-24 Grand Theft.
Mary Anderson was released on a $1,000 bond the same day.
This is not the first time, and likely won’t be the last, of criminal offenses happening on Universal Orlando Resort property. Just last year, two Guests at CityWalk’s Rising Star became entangled in a dispute with Univeral team members leading to an arrest and a trespass order with fights also breaking out during the seasonal Halloween Horror Nights event. Then, just recently, a Guest carried out a bizarre Harry Potter shoplifting spree at the Universal Studios Store, leading to arrest and a charge of Grand Theft.
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