POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Randy Ewing moved to the Lake Wales Estates from Detroit just over a month ago.
He picked a home in a rural area down a dirt road for a reason.
“To come to the beautiful state of Florida,” he said.
“So is this the beautiful state of Florida you were expecting?” asked News Channel 8 reporter Staci DaSilva.
“No, not at all,” he said.
Instead of country views on his regular walks, he sees trash.
As quickly as he picks it up, it piles up again.
“People are just from the outskirts or residents in here that just don’t care and want to throw out their trash,” he said.
On Wednesday, Ewing got the attention of a Polk County deputy, who collected evidence at the illegal dumping site. The evidence included possible identification left behind in the trash.
The sheriff’s office is now determining who, if anybody, owns the property.
“Make no mistake, when we catch someone that’s dumping it’s zero tolerance,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.
Getting it cleaned up for good, officials said, is, among other things, a preventative measure.
“If something’s dumped and it stays there, somebody else dumps something and somebody else dumps something,” Judd said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested 19 people in 2022 for illegal dumping from Kissimmee to Lakeland to Fort Meade.
The crime can result in anything from a fine to a felony, the latter if the garbage is over 500 pounds.
“We encourage people – call us! Call us! We don’t want this dumping. We don’t want this litter because it doesn’t leave a good image of your community,” Judd said.
People are also advised to call their local code enforcement office if they witness illegal dumping.
Ewing, meanwhile, has a message for anyone thinking of illegally dumping.
“If I caught them, I probably would be getting cuffed. That’s all I can say. I don’t want it here,” he said.