LAKE WALES, Fla (WFLA) — A CrimeStoppers tip led to the arrest of a registered sex offender and the seizure of venomous snakes from an unsecured enclosure in his Lake Wales yard.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a CrimeStoppers tip that Mark Conklin could have a snake pit in his back yard.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers and Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to Conklin’s home on Pinehill Court on Oct. 5.
A FWC document says that there was a concrete pit that was one foot deep covered by an enclosure that was three feet tall that had plexiglass sides and had a wire roof with a hinge door on top that was not secured by a latch or key.
FWC officers say two diamondback rattlesnakes, one hognose snake and one corn snake were inside the enclosure.
Conklin told the officers he did not have a permit for the snakes. The rattlesnakes, which were native to the area and were caught in the area, were seized and released in an appropriate habitat, according to the documents.
Mark Conklin was arrested on a charge of capturing, keeping, transporting or exhibiting venomous reptiles without a permit. He was also charged with failure to maintain wildlife possessed in captivity in cages or enclosures constructed and maintained in compliance with the law.
A Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said there were no probation violations in connection with Conklin’s sex offender status.