The man who neighbors say had besieged them with flashes of naked flesh for years stepped out of his Martin County, Fla., trailer again Thursday morning, ready to launch a full frontal assault against a jogger walking a slightly overweight blonde pug.
What Frank Scornavacca didn't know was that he had just fallen into the dragnet of a wet-nosed secret agent the likes of which Martin County has never seen:
Gus. Deputy Gus.
"We told Gus we needed an undercover deputy to help us make an arrest," Martin County Sheriff's Lt. Jenell Atlas said. "He stepped up to the challenge."
Scornavacca's neighbors ran to deputies for help earlier this week, asking them to find a way to stop the man whose lewd acts had terrorized the women and children in the trailer park community in Tropical Farms, southwest of Stuart.
Deputies, who had not been able to catch him in the act, decided to use a female deputy and a dog as bait to bolster their case. But the K-9 dogs, with all of their fancy police training and distinct features, were too high-profile for the job.
So investigators brought in Gus, a 1 1/2-year-old pug who lives with sheriff's Detective Pat Colasuonno, as a "special deputy."
Gus, who usually spends his mornings eating and napping, reported to the sheriff's office for a briefing and met his new partner, Detective Yessie Carde. Then they got down to business, walking in front of Scornavacca's trailer on Southwest Versailles Terrace. Sure enough - just as he had done to another woman walking a dog - Scornavacca, 56, stepped outside naked and began to commit a lewd act. He was charged with exposure of sexual organs and held in lieu of $250 bail.
Colasuonno said Gus will retire from law enforcement for now, but may return whenever duty calls.
"I hope you guys are going to provide him with some kind of debriefing for this," Colasuonno told Atlas on Thursday. "He's not used to seeing that kind of stuff."
This news story was provided by LexisNexis and originally appeared in Florida’s Palm Beach Post, Martin-St. Lucie Edition on Sep. 15.