Woman with Xanax 'plays mermaid,' enters Florida homes, police say

A St. Augustine woman was jailed in St. Johns County after she “played mermaid” and swam up to waterfront homes before entering the homes without permission, authorities said.

Tonya Gerlach, 33, was booked into the St. Johns County Jail after multiple residents in Vilano Beach, Florida, reported a female intruder.

One homeowner told police that she was in her home on May 25 when she heard noises in an upstairs room. The homeowner said she found a female, and when confronted, who said she “worked there.”

>> Read more trending stories

The homeowner said the woman arranged yard furniture and also watered plants while she was there. A different homeowner supplied authorities with surveillance video of a woman on the property matching Gerlach’s description, authorities said.

The report noted that that Gerlach was chased by nearby fishermen, but she eluded them.

Deputies went to a St. Johns County home on May 26 in reference to a civil complaint. A deputy met with Gerlach, who was upset over her living arrangements, authorities said.

While the deputy was there, the report said, Gerlach’s roommates said she had broken into nearby homes and bragged about it.

Seputies said Gerlach told them that she had decided to "play mermaid" and swim to waterfront homes.

Gerlach said she gained access to a home when she found keys on a nearby bicycle, the report said.

She was arrested and, she was being taken to jail, she told a deputy that she "just wanted to know how it felt to live in a house like that," according to the report.

Police said they found gabapentin and Xanax in Gerlach’s purse for which she did not have prescriptions.

Gerlach told police that she had no idea how the controlled substances got into her purse, deputies said.

Gerlach was charged with burglary and possession of controlled substances without a prescription. She remains in the St. Johns County Jail on an $8,000 bond.