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Bruce Alan Hodgson, Florida Homeless Man, Chooses Jail Cell Over Cold

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A homeless man (not pictured here) prefers jail cell to cold streets. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
A homeless man (not pictured here) prefers jail cell to cold streets. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

It was so cold, it was criminal.

A 38-year-old homeless man got himself arrested for trespassing at a Home Depot in Pompano Beach on Monday so he could spend a few nights in a warm jail, according to the Broward Sheriff's arrest report.

It's not the first time Bruce Alan Hodgson has chosen a jail cell over a cold spell. He's been arrested 28 times in nearly eight years, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, and 16 of them were during the winter months.

At $116 per day and an average three-day stay per arrest, it cost taxpayers $5,558 to house Hodgson behind bars during the winter, according to Broward Sheriff's Office cost estimates.

In Monday's arrest, the manager told deputies Hodgson appeared to be intoxicated and refused to leave the hardware store at 1151 W. Copans Road. When confronted, Hodgson told the deputies to, "Go ahead arrest me," the investigative report stated.

Broward Judge John "Jay" Hurley wasn't fooled at Hodgson's first court appearance on Tuesday.

"It got too cold out there and you wanted to get arrested," Hurley said. "Am I right?"

"Maybe," Hodgson answered.

He was back in court on Thursday and the judge had a solution.

"Bruce, can we get you to the homeless shelter?" Hurley asked. "Would you go if I can get you over there?"

"Yeah, I will try to get over there," Hodgson responded.

"No, Bruce, you are not going to try to get over there," Hurley countered. "If I can get you a ride over there, would you actually get in the car and would you go over there and stay there if we got you in there?"

"Yes, I would stay there," Hodgson said.

After pleading guilty to the trespassing charge, Hodgson was sentenced to time served.

Then, Hurley ordered Hodgson to stay at the shelter for 30 days and to stay sober.

The judge also called ahead to make sure there was a shelter bed available at the Broward Outreach Center.

A Broward Sheriff's deputy drove Hodgson to the shelter at 1700 Blount Road in Pompano Beach on Friday morning, sheriff's spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said.

Hodgson checked in then checked out, she said.

It's not known where he went but overnight temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-50s to 60s during the weekend.

wkroustan@tribune.com or 954-356-4303 ___

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