Woman Rides Manatee, Arrested and Faces 6 Months in Prison (VIDEO)

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By Brittney R. Villalva , Christian Post Reporter
November 25, 2012|9:14 am

A woman, who was seen on camera riding a manatee two months ago, has been arrested in Florida.

Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, now 53, was arrested on Saturday for violating the state's Manatee Sanctuary Act. Authorities were led to Gutierrez after a witness snapped photos of the woman on the manatee and handed them over to police.

The witness called police to Fort De Soto Park, where other witnesses helped to describe Gutierrez's appearance although she initially could not be located. Gutierrez later turned herself in, stating that she was not a local and was unaware of the rules regarding manatees.

"[Gutierrez explained] she is new to the area and did not realize it was against the law to touch or harass manatees," the sheriff's office said in a September statement.

Gutierrez turned herself in after authorities released the photos to the public. She was not arrested at the time of her surrender in October since the offense did not take place in front of a deputy, but a second-degree misdemeanor charge was forwarded to the state attorney's office, officials have said, according to ABC.

The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act states: "It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any Manatee."

Gutierrez was arrested Saturday at a Sears store "under suspicion of violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act," according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. She was released on $1,500 bail, according to The Associated Press; the maximum penalty is a $500 fine and six months in jail.

 

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