Two suspects have been arrested for illegal dumping after storing and then abandoning over 500 pounds of trash, furniture, and debris on a vacant lot in Port Charlotte. The lot, located at 1917 Cedarwood Street, came to the attention of the Community Policing Unit in February of this year after two homeless subjects, Mark Rollins (8/19/94) and Lydia Hertz (4/10/91), were observed staying on the property.
During the initial contact in February, Rollins and Hertz advised the deputy that they had the landowner’s permission to be on the property. They were cautioned to keep the area neat and clean, and they agreed. A second check on the property in April led to the discovery of furniture, mattresses, and piles of scrap metal on the land. The deputy provided Rollins and Hertz a local contact who would pick up scrap metal. They were also provided information on three nearby dumpsters they could use, for free, as part of programs started for the homeless population by Charlotte County and the Sheriff’s Office.
The deputy observed the piles of debris continue to grow over the next several months and again made contact with Rollins and Hertz at the end of July. The two subjects were advised that charges would be pending if they did not begin to work on removing the debris from the property. Both subjects abandoned the location shortly after that meeting.
The deputy was able to make contact with the property owner in September, and learned that the owner had not given permission to anyone to stay on the property. The owner further requested that any future subjects be trespassed if observed.
On September 14th, the deputy returned to the property and observed three debris fields measured more than 10′ x 10′ with a height between 1 and 3 ft. Another pile measured 8′ by 25′ with a height between 1 and 2 feet. There were 10 bikes, 2 mattresses, sofas, chairs, dressers and assorted cabinets in the piles. The deputy found cause at that time to pursue charges for Felony Dumping.
403.413 Litter law (4) Dumping Litter Prohibited. – Unless otherwise authorized by law or permit, it is unlawful for any person to dump litter in any manner or amount: In or on any private property, unless prior consent of the owner has been given and unless such litter will not cause a public nuisance or be in violation of any other state or local law, rule or regulation To wit: Florida Administrative Code – 62-701.300 General prohibition (a) No person shall store, process or dispose of solid waste except at a permitted solid waste Management facility or a facility exempt from permitting.
Mark Rollins was located and arrested on September 14th. Lydia Hertz was located and charged on October 1st.