***Update to Release Number 12-225***
Suspect That Violated The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act Over The Weekend Turns Herself In
Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez - 11-21-59
2701 34th St N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
Shortly after 4 p.m. today, suspect Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez called the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center to turn herself in.
Deputies met with Gutierrez at her residence and questioned her regarding the reported events. Gutierrez admitted to the offense claiming she is new to the area and did not realize it was against the law to touch or harass manatees. Deputies further explained the law regarding manatees and the possible penalties for violating such laws.
Deputies concluded their contact with Gutierrez and explained to her that charges would be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Due to the nature of the crime this was not an arrestable offense because it did not occur in the deputy’s presence.
***Original release below***
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
- Environmental Lands and Marine Enforcement Unit
Unknown female (see attached pictures)
Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act – FSST 379.2431(2)d
2nd degree misdemeanor
An unknown female subject was observed touching and riding a manatee over the weekend at Fort DeSoto Park.
Deputies are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the woman.
Fort DeSoto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.
Tierra Verde, FL 33715
When: The incident is reported to have occurred on Sunday, 9/30/12 at approximately 1:00 p.m.
On Sunday, 9/30/12 at approximately 1:00 p.m. deputies responded to Fort DeSoto Park due to reports of a female subject “riding” a manatee in the waterway just north of the Gulf Pier.
When deputies arrived on scene, the woman was unable to be located.
Witnesses in the area were able give deputies a description, including photos, of the suspect and where she was last seen.
Florida State Statute 379.2431(2)d (Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act) states “It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any Manatee”.
A violation of this statute is a 2nd degree misdemeanor.
No manatees are believed to have been injured.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Charlie Tita of the Environmental Lands and Marine Enforcement Unit at 727-582-6200.
See attached pictures.