The past few weeks, our relatively quiet Seminole Heights neighborhood has periodically sounded more like a Bosnian warzone - with numerous helicopters circling overhead only blocks from my house. Why all the excitement?
Apparently, during the fall of 2003, Steven Lorenzo was committing some very serious crimes (drugging, kidnapping, and raping young men) at his home on 213 West Powhatten Avenue. On December 20, 2003 two young men left a gay bar and went missing. One of those men, Michael Wacholtz was found dead on January 6, 2004 - left wrapped in a blanket lying in his Jeep. Friends and bar-patrons remember the other man who went missing, Jason Galehouse, leaving the bar on December 20 with two other men, matching the description of Lorenzo and Wacholtz.
Galehouse is still considered missing since no body has been found and his mother, Pam Williams holds out hope (maybe delusional hope) that her son has amnesia from the drugs and is alive and well, shopping in the Ross in Sarasota (where he was supposedly sighted a few months back).
Steven Lorenzo has been in jail since December 2004 on federal drug charges. He is also a suspect in the kidnapping, drugging, and raping of 6 other men - however, he has not yet been charged in the case of Galehouse and Wachholtz.
Anyway, his empty house has been searched during recent weeks, bringing an influx of local news media into our neighborhood. If baynews9 was going to break the story, I figured it only appropriate that Hard Boiled Wonderland also get the "big scoop".
So, armed with SAM as my patsy, and camera in hand, I wandered over to 213 W. Powhatten yesterday afternoon to check things out for myself.
As you can see from this first photograph, the house has been kept up very well, considering that no one has lived there since November. Obviously, Mr. Lorenzo has arranged some type of landscaping/lawnmowing type service or a relative/friend is helping out in his absence.
There really isn't much to see from the street and this is clearly why the news outlets have resorted to using their helecopters for a better look at things behind the house. I have seen camera shots from the helecopters showing massive amounts of material being piled up and sorted through in the backyard of the home.
One of the main items of interest in news reports/rumors is the hot tub. I poked over to the side of the house, staying well within the public area of the sidewalk and observed that the hot tub had indeed been yanked out of the home or deck or wherever it normally goes and moved to an area for further investigation.
Oddly enough, there is no police presence/guard (at least in plain sight) and the house is not roped off with crime scene tape or a do not cross line. I would have thought that an empty house with an active search warrant might receive more protection.
If I here that the police are back to search the house again, I will take the ever-willing, crime-fighting companion, SAM, back for another walk on Powhatten and see if I can get a more interesting scoop while trying to stay relatively unnoticed and out of the way.