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Chocolate-covered strawberries prompts assualt: Florida man arrested after assault on cruise ship

Daily News Staff Writer

A Florida couple aboard the Norwegian Bliss cruise ship allegedly got into a physical fight over chocolate-covered strawberries that resulted in an arrest.

The incident happened while the Bliss was at sea in during an Alaskan cruise, and so the couple was separated by cruise ship security until the Alaska State Troopers could meet the ship at the next port of call, which happened to be in Ketchikan.

Alan D. Mentser, 60, was arraigned in Ketchikan District Court this weekend on charges of assault in the second degree, a felony. His bail, set at $2,000, has since been paid.

According to the woman's statement to Trooper John M. Brown, the incident began on Thursday, when four chocolate-covered strawberries were delivered to their cabin by ship staff. She ate three of them.

Mentser became upset and said she was ungrateful for not saving them for him, according to her statement.

She told the trooper that the ensuing argument escalated, and Mentser allegedly placed both hands around her neck and threw her on the bed face down.

"He dug in and applied pressure," the woman stated in the report. She said she was unable breath because of the alleged pressure of his hands around her neck while being pressed into the mattress.

She said in her statement Mentser told her that "he was in charge and that she better remember that."

When she waived her arms, she said, he allegedly relaxed enough for her to turn her head sideways, get some air, and apologize.  

She told the trooper that when he let her up, she fled the room to alert the ship's security staff. She said the relationship had never been physically violent before, her statement shows.

According to Mentser's statement to the troopers, the woman approached him during an argument about their relationship, yelling and waving her arms. Mentser said he used an open hand to push her shoulder, shoving her onto the bed. His girlfriend got up from the bed and came at him again, hitting his arm, so he used two hands, one on her shoulder and the other on the side of her body to push her away again, according to Mentser's statement.

Security staff on the cruise ship took photographs of the girlfriend following the incident. The photos showed dark redness and purplish bruising on the left side of her neck, according to the trooper report. Mentser said in his statement that the bruising was from a previous consensual activity.

The alleged offense is a Class B felony and under Alaska State Statutes has a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.

Mentser's next court date is Thursday in Ketchikan, with District Court Judge Kevin Miller presiding.