FWC: Venice man arrested for destroying turtle nest

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission(FWC)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 1:56 PM EDT
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SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have announced the arrest of a Venice man for his alleged destruction of a sea turtle nest.

On August 18, 2022, FWC received a call regarding a disturbed sea turtle nest in Nokomis Beach State Park. The complainant provided video of a man digging inside a marked nesting site.

The subject was known to the complainant, but FWC officers were unable to locate the individual. Officers continued to be on the lookout for the suspect, but months passed with no new leads on his location. In May of 2023, the investigating officer discovered new information that led to the suspect in a neighboring county. Nathan John Lechner, 22, of Venice, FL was charged with a third-degree felony for the destruction and molestation of a sea turtle nest.

FWC wants to remind everyone that Florida’s beaches provide a prime habitat for several species of federally threatened and endangered sea turtles, including loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles, with occasional nesting by federally endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.

Keep a safe distances from nests. It is illegal to harm, harass or take nesting sea turtles, their eggs and hatchlings. If you see someone disturbing a nest, call the FWC Alert Hotline. Text to 847411 (Tip411) with keyword “FWC” followed by the location and any information you can about the violation, call FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or submit a tip online at myfwc.com/contact/wildlife-alert/.