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Longboat Key Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 3 years ago

Longboat files new voyeurism charges as town moves to seize condo

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Adversarial Preliminary Hearing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Manatee County courtroom.
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

Wyatt Natt could be arrested if he appears in defense of his 623 Cedars Court condominium Tuesday, Nov. 21 at the Manatee County Judicial Center. 

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."

Wayne Natt

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.

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 records show.

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 area.

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.

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