Surveillance pays off with Charlotte County arrests
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - A Charlotte County Sheriff's detective and FWC officers' surveillance paid off early Thursday with the arrest of two men and a juvenile boy.
The two officers were working together for nearly a year after getting complaints from farm and ranch owners about continued property and fence damages from trespassers that allowed livestock to escape.
48-year-old Mark Allen Erickson of Charlotte County along with a 15-year-old boy and 19-year-old Cody Michael Gordon of North Port were all taken into custody.19, 7955 Estates Drive, North Port.
Thursday’s surveillance was set up at Evans Farms Orange Grove and Babcock Ranch. At 1:30 a.m. their persistence paid off when Erickson, Gordon and the juvenile arrived on an all-terrain vehicle, drove over the Evans Farms fence and continued onto the Babcock Ranch.
When they left Gordon and the teenager held down the fence for Erickson to drive over.
At this time the officers surprised the trio. Erickson attempted to flee on the ATV but was stopped by an FWC officer. All were handcuffed and transported to the Charlotte County Jail. The ATV is being seized for forfeiture.
Based on Florida law, damaging a fence is a felony if livestock are on the property. The Babcock Ranch cattle manager along with the manager of Evans Farms; both wanted to press charges since they went onto both properties.
Erickson and Gordon were both charged with felony breaking/injuring a fence plus two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and two counts of trespassing. Erickson was additionally charged with resisting and officer. The teenager was charged with two counts of trespassing and one felony count of breaking/injuring a fence.
Erickson remains in jail on $23,500 bond; he is a convicted felon and this is his fourth booking. Gordon was release on $6,500 bond and the juvenile was released to a parent and a given a court date.