‘Spring Hill Jack’ terrorizing Hernando County with pill-popping, satchel-snatching, car-hopping rampage


By Frank Fencil | frank.fencil@springhillcourier.com

SPRING HILL, Florida – They may be jumping to conclusions, but some fear-stricken Hernando County residents are saying we’re being visited by a prowler with paranormal powers.

The mysterious marauder has been nicknamed Spring Hill Jack for his likeness to Spring-Heel Jack, a beast who is said to have accosted and assaulted women and leapt over buildings to avoid escape in London some 200 years ago.

Fortunately, this villain seems to be more interested in making off with Barbs than making out with them.

final_sinkholeThat doesn’t mean his presence hasn’t been a nightmare for those he’s accused of ripping off or the law enforcement officers embarrassed by their inability to put an end to his fleet-footed and felonious free-for-all.

Spring Hill Jack was most recently spotted this afternoon by a Timber Pines security guard who chased him to the edge of a sinkhole only to see the drug demon leap across the chasm with ease.

Just an hour earlier, the he was accused of snatching a woman’s purse in the Applebee’s on U.S. 19 and evading capture by springing through a small archway and then over a eight-top table on his way to the door.

“It was like gravity didn’t even mean anything to him,” said Melissa Arckle, the Applebee’s hostess on duty at the time. “It was just so spooky. I’m questioning everything I thought I knew about the nature and fabric of reality.”

final_applebeesA day earlier, witnesses say he snagged a purse from behind a cash-for-gold vendor’s counter in the Towne Square Mall on U.S. 19 and then vaulted over a parked car while eluding the four armed shoppers who pursued him.

“We knew he was some kind of weirdo when we saw him pacing around the place looking real strung out, and I even commented to my wife about how I think we saw him on Real News Real Fast, but she said we’ve seen half of Spring Hill on there, so I let it go,” said Peter Butteli, who was at the former Walmart to have dental work done. “Then I hear some screams, look over and he’s got a purse. Man, I got up after him so fast, but before I could even get to the door I look up and see him just hop over a car parked in the fire lane like it was a foot tall. It still gives me chills to think about it.”

Hernando County authorities have also been unable to snare the loopy leaper after what they say are a series of calculated pharmacy robberies. In each case, witnesses say a sweaty, distressed man approached the pharmacy counter, reached in to grab someone else’s prescription painkillers and then hastily bolted from the store, hurdling right over mid-aisle displays.

final_walgreens1Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis cautioned residents to stay away from Spring Hill Jack and just call 911 if they spot him while saying he did not believe there was anything supernatural about the beast.

“I have a feeling this is just a very strung-out man,” Nienhuis said. “We’re probably just dealing with a former high school track athlete or a skateboarder who got hooked on pills, took some PCP and is looking to get his next fix.”

Frank Fencil

Frank Fencil is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades' experience. He has uncovered government corruption, toppled dirty police forces and covered two foreign wars as an international correspondent. He chose to return to his native Spring Hill in hopes of giving his hometown the quality watchdog journalism it deserves.

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