Article Courtesy of Your Observer.com
By Bret Hauff
Published November 23, 2017
Wyatt Natt could be arrested if he appears in defense of
his 623 Cedars Court condominium Tuesday, Nov. 21 at the Manatee County
Natt, charged with felony video voyeurism Sept. 29, is
wanted as a fugitive for three more felony video voyeurism
counts, for which he was charged Friday, said Longboat Key
Police Chief Pete Cumming.
"We’ve identified more than the four [victims] but we
haven’t had a chance to get affidavits," Cumming said.
"We’ve got months of just trying to identify victims."
The town last week filed documents in the 12th Circuit
Court, beginning the proceedings ultimately designed to take
possession of the one-bedroom, two-bath condo.
A judge is scheduled hear the Longboat Key Police
Department's case for probable cause alleging it knew, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the property had been
used instrumentality in the alleged commission of a felony.
If the court finds no probable cause exists, the Longboat
Police Department must discharge its lis pendens — a court
order motion notifying all lien holders and any potential
buyers that the property is the subject of litigation —
within five days.
But if the court finds probable cause, Longboat Police may
restrain the property "by the least restrictive means to
protect against disposal, waste, or continued illegal use of
such property," according to Florida statue.
Regina Kardash, an attorney with Persson and Cohen, P.A.
representing the town in this case, could not be reached
Monday afternoon for comment.
Longboat Key Police
Department allege Natt hid cameras and microphones around
his condo — which he rented through the popular short-term
rental service Airbnb — and recorded at least one set of
tenants without their knowledge. At least one man was filmed
naked, police say.
Adversarial Preliminary Hearing scheduled for Tuesday
afternoon in Manatee County courtroom.
Now police say they’ve built a case to prove by a preponderance of evidence
that the condo was used to commit a felony — which, if backed up in court,
gives the town authority to seize the property under state law.
Town commissioners authorized the move by a 4-3 vote.
Natt has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of video voyeurism, court
Florida law permits an arresting agency to pursue forfeiture action against
a property it believes was “used as an instrumentality in the commission of
any felony,” according to the statute. The validity of such a case is not
dependent on a conviction.
The condo is valued at $170,850, according to the Manatee County Appraiser’s
office. But state law does not permit town officials to take this into
account when filing a civil asset forfeiture complaint. The property is a
two-story, one-bedroom/two-bath condo with about 1,200 square feet of living
Tuesday's proceedings are scheduled at 2:30 p.m. before Judge Gilbert A.
Smith Jr. in Courtroom 5E of the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051
Manatee Ave. W., in Bradenton.