Police tackle transients tenting in native park


candy man

7:00 pm — 500 block of South Atlantic Avenue

Larceny. A local gas station is seeking to pursue charges after an unknown man stole a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups candy bar and a hamburger.

Police report that the man, wearing a grey, blue and black striped sweatshirt, was seen on surveillance footage entering the store and taking the items. The store manager told officers that she had personally caught him stealing from the store three times in the past and that she had told him not to come into the store “hundreds of times,” according to the incident report.

Police asked if the man had been previously trespassed from the store, and the manager said no. She said she believed the man lived in the motel next door.


10:56 pm — 100 block of Williamson Blvd

Possession of a schedule II substance. Police arrested a 53-year-old man from Palatka who was staying in a hotel room and was found to be in possession of heroin, though hotel staff thought he had been facing a possession of a different kind.

According to his arrest report, staff received noise complaints coming from his hotel room and told officers that he had been making loud noises similar to “The Exorcist” when they checked on him. When officers arrived at the scene, they could hear loud screams coming from the room even from several doors down. They knocked on the hotel room door and spoke with the man, informing him that he was being trespassed from the hotel.

As the man was gathering his belongings, officers spotted syringes and clear plastic bags on the nightstand. The man was adamant that the substances were not illegal drugs, but testing of the substances proved otherwise. He was taken to jail.

Illegal camping

9:27 am — 600 block of Hand Avenue

City ordinance violation. Transients were instructed not to set up camp at a local park after at least one resident complained about their presence.

According to a police incident report, the transients had been camping in a wooded area of ​​the park, and officers tried to make contact with them several times, and additionally posted 24-hour notices advising them to gather their belongings and leave the property. On Feb. 7, one officer encountered two transients at the camp, who claimed they had missed the “bright orange notice” the officer had posted on their tent earlier that day, though the notice was lying on the floor in plain view.

Because it was getting dark, the officer told the transients to gather their belongings and leave in the morning. Due to a high call volume, the officer was not able to follow up the next day, but after receiving another complaint, returned to the campsite with the city parks division to gather items for destruction. As the officer was waiting on the city crew, one of the transients and a friend returned to gather her belongings.

They helped city workers clean up the area, and the transient was informed not to set up camp in city property again.