PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA)- Walmart may be open 24 hours a day, but can you live there? Registered sex offender Scott Baumann told law enforcement the Zephyrhills Walmart is his home. And Walmart customers are furious. “That’s not right,” said Joe Martino.
Florida’s sex offender registry is supposed to help the community identify sex offenders in their neighborhood and help law enforcement keep track of them. But with an address like this, can you trust the list? “He lives here? ” said Kim Kennedy. “That’s kind of crazy to say you live in a store. who knows how many more of him is out here.” Walmart neighbors called 8 On Your Side about Baumann and we found him in jail. Turns out the Pasco County Sheriff’s office was already looking for him for failing to register his address – even before he moved to Walmart.
But he’s not the only one with a disturbing address. After a little digging, we found offender after offender claiming to live under bridges, on vacant lots. Even at Tampa General Hospital. This is no surprise to Criminal Defense Attorney Maria Pavlidis. She insists the registry doesn’t represent reality. “Under the law, just looking at it black and white, it’s appropriate for them because they have address where they can find that person,” she said. “Is that really what the intent was? I don’t think so.” She says this points to a much bigger problem. “A lot of times they are homeless,” she said. “They cannot go to certain shelters.so you’re left with they’re on the street or they’re back in jail.”