TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s one big, stinky, smelly, massive mess – 35 tons of rotting garbage, to be exact.
8 On Your Side got an up close and personal look at acres and acres of junk dumped illegally in Hillsborough County. The location of the site is 10716 E. Broadway in Tampa.
Everything you can think of has been left there, including cars, hot tubs, tires, trash, oxygen tanks and propane tanks.
There are literally mountains of debris everywhere you look.
It all happened in an incredibly short amount of time. The disgusting damage was done in just six months, according to deputies.
Ron Spiller from Hillsborough County Code Enforcement tells 8 On Your Side it’s one of the worst cases of illegal dumping he’s ever seen.
“To our left here, behind the trees, there’s a townhouse community and a retirement complex behind it,” said Spiller. “These folks have been very negatively impacted by gnats, there’s an odor and all that. And all that appeared in such a short period of time “
Turns out, when the smell and gnats hit the neighbors nearby, that’s when someone gave an anonymous heads up to the county. Those who live next door also noticed multiple trucks coming in to leave stuff behind.
“It’s remote, yet it’s not remote, it’s close. It has a lot of concealment. We just couldn’t see what was going on until it got to the point where it’s as bad as it is,” Spiller added.
At the heart of it all, detectives tell us a Tampa man is accused of making the mess. Robert Rogan from American Waste Services is now facing felony charges in this case.
Detectives explained that he seemed to like the deep discount he was getting for illegal dumping. Investigators said he paid only $100 per load to get rid of tons of garbage.
Hillsborough Detective David Stofflet shook his head while standing at the site. “I’ve been involved with the sheriff’s office environmental section for 20 years, I have never seen dumping of this magnitude,” he said.
So, the question remains – how exactly did this get so out of control?
Turns out, the owner of the property, Thomas J. Aaron, Jr., doesn’t even live in Hillsborough County. He’s in Hawaii, according to investigators.
8 On Your Side tried to contact him all afternoon on Monday. We found his ex-wife from 15 years prior.
She had “no idea this was happening.”
“I can’t believe it. I haven’t seen him in years. I know the property you’re talking about, but I had no idea,” she added.
He is currently being sought after by detectives and remains “at large.”
He’ll most likely want to come back to Tampa soon, since he’s facing nearly a quarter million dollars in fines.
Hillsborough detectives said the owner let the property go and now the county is now being forced to come in and clean everything out – fast.
Investigators estimate that it will take nearly 21 days to get rid of everything.
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