Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested a Tampa man for dumping tires in an area where city officials told him to dump them. 57-year-old Wendell Phomas is now facing a felony littering charge.
According to FWC arrest documents, Phomas placed the tires on a lot located at 8206 N. 14th Street and could not produce any documentation giving him permission to do so, despite city code enforcement telling the officers about a planned pick up. The lot is located directly next to his home. It was abandoned years ago. The county is currently trying to sell the tax deed.
Tampa city officials say they were aware of the dumping and even added it was a part of a plan to get Phomas' property into compliance. In March of this year, Phomas was arrested and cited by code enforcement for having more than a thousand tires on his property. Since then, a mountain of tires has been removed from his back yard. A fraction of the tires are sitting in the neighboring lot. Tampa's Solid Waste Department has already taken several loads of the tires. The city is adding the cost of the removal to Phomas' water bill.
Neighbors and friends of Phomas claimed FWC officers came to his home looking for his son. When Phomas didn't give them information about his son's whereabouts, they arrested him on the littering charge.
A spokesperson for FWC said Phomas was arrested for illegal activity. The spokesperson could not tell ABC Action News the reason why arresting officers were in the area to begin with.
Phomas was cited for similar violations in 2013.
He is currently being held in the Hillsborough County Jail without bond.