Law enforcement in Winter Haven, Florida, are searching for a boater accused of trespassing and going to the bathroom in the bushes of a homeowner’s private residence.
On March 16, a woman was caught on camera entering the side yard of a private property, which she accessed by boat, and using the hedges to relieve herself. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office subsequently released the security footage in an effort to identify the suspect. The video has since gone viral on social media platforms with nearly 80,000 views, and authorities are hopeful that someone will come forward with information. The sheriff’s office is also offering a cash reward for the woman’s arrest.
In a video, Sheriff Grady Judd called attention to the severity of the offense.
“We have trespassing, [but] not traditional trespassing. It involves a lady that’s gone into a neighborhood on Lake Winterset … and she’s popped a squat and showed us her shiny rear end while she goes to the bathroom in these people’s hedges.”
He also appealed to the public to consider how they would feel if someone trespassed on their property to relieve themselves. “I want you to think for a second: What if somebody stopped their car or their boat and walked up into your yard and started doing the Number One thing or the Number Two thing in your hedges?”
This incident is just one of many complaints made by residents along Lake Winterset. Boaters party on the lake year-round, leaving behind trash and frequently trespassing on private property to access the lake. Property owners have reported finding syringes, condoms and bags of floating human waste on their property.
“There are people that leave on weekends to just get away from everything. They’re not even home on weekends because they’re tired of it,” resident David Miller told ABC Action News.
Candace Resmondo, a resident whose property has been trespassed on, said that boaters often bring their dogs into her yard to relieve themselves. Resmondo and her neighbor have spent over $8,000 to hire security to deter trespassers, but the situation continues to escalate. Boaters have reportedly become more hostile and uncooperative with law enforcement, claiming that they have the right to do as they please on the lake.
“This isn’t a public park. These are people’s homes, people’s residences. You work all day; you come and want to relax and enjoy, but it’s Spring Break every weekend. It’s awful,” Resmondo said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints and will be conducting extra patrols and monitoring parties on the lake to address the issue. In the meantime, authorities are urging boaters to respect private property and the homeowners who reside there. As Sheriff Judd put it, “Hey folks, stay out of these people’s yards.”