Fossil hunters continue trespassing in Wellen Park construction zone, North Port police say

There's enough large signs warning visitors not to come into the construction area at Wellen Park in North Port. But, police said they continue to receive calls about people not only digging, but bringing their own equipment to hunt for fossils. 

The construction isn't just attracting future businesses and homeowners. It's also attracting those hunting for fossils. 

"I get it, it’s exciting digging for these. It’s kind of like digging for gold, but again these are active construction zones," said Josh Taylor with the North Port Police Department.

Fossils and megalodon sharks teeth have been found on the site by people who are trespassing. Taylor said trespassers have even brought in water jets like on kayaks to erode the sides of retention ponds. 

"It’s a danger to themselves and a danger in the future for that retention pond to erode," said Taylor.

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North Port police said development owners are concerned about their equipment and more importantly, the safety of everyone.

"At the end of the day, it’s private property and everybody has private property rights," said Taylor.

Just a few miles away, in Venice, is the Shark's tooth capital of the world. It's where fossil hunters can find those same treasures safely and legally.

"It never gets old. Every tooth that you find is like the first one all over again," said Michael Nastasio, the captain of Black Gold Fossil Charters.

Nastasio is one of five charter boats in Venice that puts scuba divers on the fossil grounds in the water. He said there are options for those interested in fossil hunting.

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"You have other options as far as scuba diving. A lot of people sift on the beaches, You probably won’t find a meg, but you will find lots of small teeth," said Nastasio. "There’s land hunts you can do. They take you out in kayaks and dig on the Peace River."

They are legal options that won't end up costing you more, than the value of the fossils you find.

"It's not worth getting in trouble for. Even being good teeth out there," said Nastasio.

If you are caught trespassing or stealing from the site, you could face a felony charge.