City officials are perplexed about why mysterious piles of used toilet paper keep showing up on a vacant city lot on the corner of 18th Street East and Manatee Avenue East.
Residents in the area say the problem has been going on for about seven years, but for new resident John Lundin it came as a shock. Lundin has been impressed with how clean the city is maintained compared to other places he’s lived, but for this particular issue, enough is enough.
Since he’s moved into the neighborhood, Lundin said, someone is showing up every three to four days and “purposely and maliciously littering the property with large quantities of soiled human waste toilet paper and paper towels.”
The city responded to his complaint last week and spent more than four days cleaning out the lot. Public Works Director Jim McLellan said workers “initially cleaned up the materials, and then did a lot of trimming to raise the canopy to make it less inviting to be in.”
The work came as a relief to Lundin and other residents who have been taking on the job of cleaning up the mess themselves. But the soiled-material dumper returned two days after the city cleaned out the lot. Two large boxes of soiled materials were not only dumped in the middle of the lot, but were dumped out and intentionally ripped open and spread around.
Who would do something like this? It’s done in such a way that is so purposeful in the way they rip up the bags and spread it out. It’s like they are trying to make a statement, but what that statement is, I don’t know.
John Lundin, Bradenton resident
Urine-soaked and feces-stained paper products were quickly drawing flies. McLellan said that, unfortunately, vacant lots can turn into dumping areas. While city crews often find themselves cleaning up unusual things on vacant properties, McLellan said this particular case is unusual.
“It’s unusual for us to clean up an area and have a problem so soon after,” he said. “I’m not sure what’s going on in this case.”
McLellan said he will work with the Bradenton Police Department to try and find out who is doing it. City crews returned Friday morning to clean up the latest mess. In the meantime, residents remain baffled.
“Who would do something like this?” Lundin asked. “It’s done in such a way that is so purposeful in the way they rip up the bags and spread it out. It’s like they are trying to make a statement,but what that statement is, I don’t know.”
Still, Lundin is keeping a sense of humor about the problem.
“I have to give whoever is doing this some credit,” he said. “They are pretty dedicated to what they are doing.”