Citizen Tips Nab Fla. Man

Citizen Tips Nab Fla. Man
William Hunter Hardesty

OCEAN CITY – Tips from citizens last week helped local law enforcement locate and arrest a man wanted in Florida on animal cruelty charges for allegedly stomping on a pelican.

Responding to tips from citizens, Maryland State Police troopers last Friday arrested William Hunter Hardesty, 31, of Riva, Md., at an Ocean City hotel.

Hardesty was arrested on a warrant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission char-ging him with animal cruelty to migratory birds and the intentional feeding of pelicans.

Maryland State Police (MSP) troopers arrested Hardesty around 9 a.m. on Friday at a hotel at 12th Street in Ocean City. Hardesty was identified as the suspect after a video posted on social media showed him in Florida allegedly luring and then jumping on top of a pelican in the water.

Florida officials then investigated and obtained an arrest warrant for Hardesty.

MSP troopers from the Berlin barrack were contacted on Friday morning by concerned citizens who told police they believed Hardesty was staying at the Ocean City hotel.

MSP troopers were told the individual was bragging to them about being wanted for feeding and tackling a pelican in the Florida Keys. Troopers then confirmed the extraditable warrant and arrested Hardesty at the hotel without incident.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.