LAKELAND, Fla. - Four men have been arrested for trying to commit lewd acts in a public park. It's an ongoing problem the Polk County Sheriff's Office has been battling for years.
Authorities arrested Matilde Medrano, Jeffrey Taylor, Aldon Whitworth, and Robert Perro. They're accused of soliciting lewd acts at Saddle Creek Park in broad daylight. These men allegedly solicited undercover detectives. We're told Medrano was even wearing women's clothing at the time of his arrest.
"The people that we arrested made comments to our undercover detectives saying, 'hmm, I haven't seen you here before. You sure you're not a cop.' So we know people that we arrest at these parks frequent the parks for that type of behavior, which is why we do these operations," said public information officer with the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Carrie Eleazer.
Back in May, 10 News told you about the ongoing problem and showed you two dozen men arrested for lewd acts in Polk County parks since the beginning of the year. According to authorities, the encounters typically happen on trails or in bathrooms.
"That type of behavior is not to be going on in parks like this. People bring their children, they want to enjoy themselves, there's playgrounds there," said Eleazer.
We went to the Lakeland home of one of the men recently arrested, Aldon Whitworth. No one answered, but a neighbor of his did have something to say.
"Definitely keep my eye on him. I don't want my kids around him. Kind of concerned," said Timothy. "It's kind of creepy. I don't know why you'd go into parks to do that."
Officials with the Sheriff's Office say these stings will continue.
"We're hoping the more operations we do, the more the word will get out and it will deter these people from coming and doing this," said Eleazer.
The four men have been charged with Soliciting Another to Commit Lewdness. Four other people were also arrested during the sting on drug and alcohol charges.