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Charlotte County Sheriff's cracking down on 'hook ups' at Flatwood Environmental Park

Police say this is one of the parks men will meet up to ask for sexual favors.
Posted at 9:44 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 07:06:04-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla -- Flatwood Environmental Park, located in Charlotte County, is getting a reputation of being a “hook up spot,” rather than a park you use for hiking and biking. Police say this is one of the parks men will meet up to ask for sexual favors.

But this park has had this reputation for a while, and Charlotte County Sheriff’s are aware of the issue. Earlier this week police say an undercover deputy arrested a 62-year-old man for exposing himself to that officer in the park.

Katie Heck, the Public Information Officer, for CCSO, says these men meet online and come from out of town to meet up in the park, to engage in sex. Although this activity has been ongoing for a few years, some people who live here had no idea was going on.

"You always think you’re in a safe environment, as far as Punta Gorda," said Chris Deimer, a local business owner in Punta Gorda.

The Charlotte County Sheriff's office says it's an ongoing issue, but can't do much about the problem, unless there are witnesses who see these acts happen.

"We get reports of tips of people that witness the behavior that people have been out there," said Katie Heck.
"We also have people call in because they were approached and they call law enforcement because they’re made to feel uncomfortable."

Fox 4 did ask if there were other measures in place to keep this from happening, like installing cameras, but it turns out, that hasn't worked.

"We did actually make an arrest on someone who damaged security cameras that were placed out there to catch people engaging in the crimes," said Heck.

But Charlotte County says they will have patrols and rangers on site.

"When people enter charlotte county with the intent to commit a crime they should be aware that we know that they’re coming, and it could be deputy that they’re engaging in contact with," Heck said.