Port Charlotte Florida Man Found Living in the Woods With Gopher Tortoise Pet
A down-on-his-luck Florida man was doing was discovered at a home under construction in Port Charlotte. He had a shopping cart and was filling it up with scraps and other discarded items. According to NBC-2, Barry Yemma has done this on several occasions. He said it was all part of an arrangement he has with the construction company. Apparently he was allowed to use the scraps to fix up his nearby campsite in the Port Charlotte woods. The problem was that a few neighbors were not aware Yemma’s deal with the construction company. That’s when law enforcement was called.
When Charlotte County deputies arrived, Yemma was pushing his haul down a nearby street towards his campsite with a bright orange Home Depot shopping cart. Yemma was cooperative when stopped. He handed over his ID and explaining his arrangement with the construction company. The deputies’ main issue with him at that time was his choice of receptacle for his new possessions from the dumpster. Yemma explained that he was not the one who walked off the shopping cart initially. He came into possession of it about a month ago.
He said he considered returning the cart initially, but decided to keep it with him at his campsite around one mile away from the store.
Deputies contacted the store and management decided to pursue criminal charges over the cart in question. Due to Yemma’s history of theft, deputies decided to accompany him back to his camp to check for other stolen items. When they arrived, they found a massive blue tarp and other carts from a Port Charlotte Wal-Mart and other businesses scattered about.
One of those carts contained an endangered gopher tortoise and a food dish. Yemma said a woman left the tortoise at the camp the previous day, and he decided to keep it as a pet. FWC was called and decided to add a charge of removing the animal from its environment. Yemma was also given a trespass warning for his camp’s location.
Do you think the store was justified in pursuing criminal charges over a shopping cart? Should they have let Yemma try to make the most of his unfortunate situation?