MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A sand showdown took place at a South Florida beach after a man picked an unlikely and illegal spot to sit.
That man made himself at home in the middle of a restricted turtle nesting area. That decision landed him in trouble with other beach goers and the law.
“I ain’t scared of you, I’m sitting by my [expletive] self,” said a beach goer on cellphone video.
This was not the kind of fireworks people turned out for on July 4th. Not only was there a man blowing his top on Miami Beach, but he’s standing on top of protected turtle eggs in a designated nesting area.
“That’s just straight up terrible,” said Nicole Ponce. “Why would you do that?”
Ponce was part of the group Monday, that confronted a man who decided to place his towel directly within a sectioned off portion of sand, clearly stating that this is where turtles nest.
“At first I thought he was working there, but no, he was just sitting there,” said Ponce.
Video shows the man standing and defiantly refusing to go anywhere.
“That is completely illegal. That is not good,” said Ponce. “He would have destroyed all the eggs that were there.”
The group pressured him to move, but that didn’t go well. Soon after, they called police.
“Move [inaudible] protected turtle,” said another beach goer.
“You can move a little bit,” said another beach goer.
“He was getting real aggressive,” said Ponce. “Shouting profanities.”
“The police [are] on the way,” said another beach goer.
Ponce showed police the footage.
“The police later on took evidence,” said Ponce.
They eventually found Bowen, and took him into custody.
“Sickens me. I mean, it really does,” said Bette Zirkelbach.
Zirkelbach runs the turtle hospital in the Keys, which rescues, rehabs and releases the federally protected animals, which she said are considered “threatened or endangered.”
“They lay a nest, and that chamber gets covered with sand, so you’re not gonna see from the surface that there’s a nest there, but inside that chamber is 100 to 120 eggs,” said Zirkelbach.
After being busted, Bowen’s case was taken up in criminal court after a celebration on the beach got loudly interrupted.
“You can’t disturb the sea turtle eggs,” said Judge Mindy S. Glazer during court.
The formal charge is harassing or molesting marine turtles or their eggs.
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