Alarming messages written on 2 Lake County buildings, cars set on fire, reports show

Authorities investigating fire as arson

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist, Nadeen Yanes - Reporter

EUSTIS, Fla. - Authorities in Eustis are investigating a case of arson near a medical office where several cars were set on fire and a building was vandalized over the weekend.

The incident is the second in less than a month in which a strange message about someone's sex offender status was written on a Lake County building.

In the most recent incident, Eustis police and fire responded at 6:43 p.m. Sunday to Mid Florida Pathology on Prevatt Street, where several cars were on fire, according to city of Eustis officials.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and State Fire Marshal’s Office also responded to the scene to assist.

The fire marshal and Eustis police are actively investigating the case as arson, city officials said.

Across the lot from the arson, a message was written on the Eustis Chiropractic building with the address to another doctor's office in Tavares.

Cars covered in tarps at a Eustis medical center after police say they were burned on Sunday Nov. 19, 2018.

Part of the message read, "1755 David Walker Demand not met 10/22/18. LCSO.ORG."

According to a Lake County Sheriff's Office incident report, Tavares police were called to 1749 David Walker Drive in Tavares on Oct. 20 for a similar vandalism incident.

The message from that report read:

"I am a sex offender. Message to Registration needs to call FDLE to remove low grade sex (offense) off FDLE website one off (sic) does not need to be there comply by this date 10/22/18 or one piece of Lake County property will burn."

Tavares Police Department officials are working with Eustis police to see if both incidents are connected.

FDLE spokeswoman Angela Starke confirmed the agency is aware of both incidents and are working with both Tavares and Eustis authorities.

According to FDLE's website, sex offenders are added to the sex offender registry when convicted of a qualifying sex offense. The offenders’ names are given to FDLE through Florida Department of Corrections or added to the registry if they move to Florida from another state and are required to register.

"Names are removed when the offender no longer meets registration requirements in Florida and there is a court order; or names are removed once the state in which the offender is convicted verifies the person is no longer required to be registered," Starke said in an email to News 6.

Dr. Gary Stoltz, with Eustis Chiropractic, said he learned that his practice was vandalized when a friend saw the police activity and called him.

"My wife and I came up here around 9 o'clock and found the graffiti on the building and the cars were already out," Stoltz said, adding "I don't wish this on anybody."

Stoltz said he felt fortunate the damage wasn't worse, saying the perpetrator could have burned the whole building down.

"Some letters on the outside of my building, that I can fix," Stoltz said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477) or the Eustis Police Department (352) 357-4121.

A message written on the side of a Eustis medical office on Nov. 18, 2018 threatens to damage more Lake County buildings until a name is removed from the FDLE registered sex offenders list. (Image: WKMG)

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