Halloween Road Closures in Punta Gorda

Posted: October 18, 2021

On Sunday, October 31, 2021, thousands of trick-or-treaters from all over will descend on Punta Gorda’s Historic District to celebrate Halloween. This has been a long standing tradition and in order to ensure that everyone has a safe and happy Halloween night, the following roadways will be closed beginning at 5:00 p.m. until approximately 9:00 p.m. depending on the number of attendees:

West Marion Avenue: West Marion Avenue will be closed for vehicular traffic from Cross Street (US 41) to Shreve Street.

West Retta Esplanade: The east bound lane of West Retta Esplanade will be closed, but the west bound lane will remain open to allow traffic into Punta Gorda Isles.

Side Streets: Harvey Street, Durrance Street, Gill Street, Gilchrist Street, McGregor Street, Chasteen Street, Dolly Street, and Berry Street will be closed from West Retta Esplanade to West Olympia Avenue. Only residents with proof of residency will be allowed to drive on closed streets to return or leave their homes with the assistance of an officer for safety.

As always the police department will have plenty of officers and volunteers in the area to assist with traffic, provide security, and ensure the safety of everyone. The police department will also be handing out candy in front of City Hall! We hope that everyone has a very safe and very happy Halloween this year!

Pedestrian Fatality Crash in Punta Gorda

Posted: September 20, 2021

Officers responded this morning to the intersection of East Olympia Avenue and Cooper Street in reference to a vehicle crash involving a pedestrian. Sixty-four year old Mark Andrew Harvey of Port Charlotte was crossing Cooper Street when he was struck by a vehicle. Harvey was taken to the Emergency Room at Bayfront Health Punta Gorda and succumbed to his injuries only a short time later. This is still an ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.

Punta Gorda Police and ABT Team Up for Underage Alcoholic Beverage Sales Enforcement Sweep

Posted: July 22, 2021

Punta Gorda Police Detectives and State Investigators from the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) Bureau of Law Enforcement teamed up on July 14, 2021 for an enforcement sweep in the City of Punta Gorda targeting the sales of alcoholic beverages to minors. The operation included compliance checks at eight local commercial establishments in the City of Punta Gorda licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. One of the establishments was closed, five of the establishments open for business were found to be in compliance, and one establishment was out of compliance.

Florida ABT & Punta Gorda Police

The commercial establishments that were found to be in compliance and did NOT sell alcohol to a minor were:

  • Village Fish Market (1200 W. Retta Esplanade)
  • Harpoon Harry’s (1200 W. Retta Esplanade)
  • TT’s Tiki Bar (33 Tamiami Trail)
  • Leroy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar (201 W. Marion Avenue)
  • Manatee’s Pizza (408 Tamiami Trail)

The commercial establishment that was found NOT to be in compliance and DID sell alcohol to a minor was:

  • Hurricane Charley’s Raw Bar & Grill (300 W. Retta Esplanade)

This operation was the result of a continuing partnership between ABT and the Punta Gorda Police Department to curb the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco to minors. The Punta Gorda Police Department, along with Drug Free Charlotte County and ABT, will continue to work constructively with local retail establishments where violations occur to ensure that employees are educated regarding Florida law. Operations like this one will continue.

Chief Pam Davis urges all individuals to report the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco to law enforcement. Violations within the incorporated city limits of Punta Gorda can be reported to the Punta Gorda Police Department by calling 941-639-4111.

Tropical Storm Elsa Update

Posted: July 6, 2021

As Tropical Storm Elsa continues to move toward our area, the Punta Gorda Fire Department and Punta Gorda Police Department want to provide an update to let residents know what they should expect.

NOAA Storm Map

The current forecast shows that we will likely experience tropical storm force winds and heavy rain beginning this afternoon and continuing through the evening. Overnight, we will likely experience the effects of storm surge, which may cause localized flooding, especially in the downtown area, the Historic District, roadways along the river, and other low lying areas along the coast. There is also the possibility for sporadic tornadoes to develop.

Please keep the following in mind both during and after the storm:

  • Remain indoors and avoid driving if possible.
  • Do not drive vehicles down roadways with standing water. Water is often deeper than it appears and can cause substantial damage to your vehicle and leave you stranded. This can also tie up emergency personnel who may be needed elsewhere.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation will deem bridges closed should sustained winds reach 40 miles per hour.
  • Should you lose power, do not operate generators indoors, in garages, or near open windows or doors. Generators should only be used in open spaces as far from your home as possible.
  • Avoid fallen power lines, even if you believe they are not active.

Update: July 7, 2021 5:15 a.m.

We are currently experiencing localized flooding in the downtown area and on the roadways along the river. We do not anticipate that the water will begin to receed until 6:15 a.m. at the earliest and we expect that water will remain throughout part the morning. Please avoid the area and do not drive vehicles down roadways with standing water. It can cause serious damage to  vehicles and leave you stranded.

Fourth of July Traffic

Posted: June 30, 2021

We know that everyone is excited that Fourth of July celebrations are back on this year! As we anticipate our usual large crowds in Punta Gorda to be even larger this year, we wanted to make sure that residents and visitors can plan ahead for a safe and happy holiday. There will be several traffic changes implemented Sunday night in an effort to minimize traffic congestion after the fireworks display as follows:

  • Traffic leaving from the areas east of Tamiami Trail (US-41 North), including Laishley Park, will be directed south to East Olympia Avenue (US-17 East) and then east to I-75. Traffic can then go north or south on the interstate. Traffic leaving from this area will not be able to access Tamiami Trail (US-41).
  • Traffic leaving from the areas west of Tamiami Trail (US-41 North), except as specified below, will be directed to Cross Street (US-41 South). Traffic may then continue south toward Fort Myers or will be allowed to turn east onto Carmalita Street, north on Cooper Street, and east on East Olympia Avenue (US-17 East) toward I-75. Traffic man then go north or south on the interstate.
  • Traffic leaving from City Market Place will be directed north on to Tamiami Trail (US-41 North) toward Port Charlotte.
  • Traffic leaving the Herald Court Center parking garage will not be permitted to turn right toward Tamaimi Trail (US-41 North). Traffic will need to turn left towards Taylor Street and will be directed one of two ways depending on traffic congestion. Traffic may be directed to West Olympia Avenue (US-17 East) toward I-75 where traffic may go north or south on the interstate. Traffic may also be directed to West Marion Avenue (US-17 East) toward Cross Street (US-41 South) where traffic may then continue south toward Fort Myers or will be allowed to turn east onto Carmalita Street, north on Cooper Street, and east on East Olympia Avenue (US-17 East) toward I-75.

Please keep in mind that thousands of people come into Punta Gorda to see the fireworks display and most people are trying to leave at the same time. These changes are meant to minimize congestion, but there is no way to eliminate it. We do expect substantial delays that can last one to two hours after the fireworks display ends, so please plan accordingly!

In addition to the traffic changes it is also important to note that the Laishley boat ramp will be closed beginning 30 minutes prior to the fireworks display. However, the Ponce Park boat ramp will remain open until 11:00 p.m. to provide an alternative to residents and visitors.

We hope that everyone has a safe, happy, and fun Independence Day!

Three Arrested on Drug Charges After Search Warrant

Posted: June 16, 2021

Over the course of the past month, officers have conducted an undercover narcotics investigation regarding suspected drug activity at 1124 Coronado Drive in Punta Gorda. Based on evidence gathered during the investigation a search warrant for the residence was obtained, which was executed earlier this morning. The following individuals were arrested as a result of the search:

Gina Cheyenne Cooper (DOB 09/12/1992)
Possession of Methamphetamine
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Grand Theft Auto (CCSO)

Heather Maree Sanders (DOB 11/26/1985)
Possession of Methamphetamine
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Introduction of Contraband into Jail Facility

Taylor Nicole Fairfax (DOB 12/20/1994)
Possession of Methamphetamine
Possession of Fentanyl
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

All three were booked into the Charlotte County Jail on their charges.

Suspect Identified in Harborwalk Footbridge Crash

Posted: June 11, 2021

On Monday, June 7, 2021 officers responded to 1200 West Retta Esplanade, Fishermen’s Village in reference to a hit-and-run vehicle crash. A security guard at Fishermen’s Village stated that just before 1:00 a.m. they heard a loud noise and observed a vehicle driving through the parking lot at a high rate of speed away from the footbridge of the Harborwalk. The witness stated that it appeared the vehicle was dragging pieces of the barriers and fencing surrounding the footbridge as it left.

Evidence at the scene showed that a vehicle had been traveling west on West Retta Esplanade when it continued past the end of the roadway, went through the barriers and signs, crossed over the footbridge, and continued through the parking lot of Fishermen’s Village. The Harborwalk sustained approximately $15,000 in damage. There were no injuries reported.

Officers located vehicle parts at the scene which allowed them to determine that the vehicle involved was a 2004-2006 BMW X5. A search of the matching vehicles registered in the city was conducted and ultimately a vehicle was located at 1080 Bal Harbor Boulevard, Islander Point Condos. The vehicle had sustained substantial damage that was consistent with the evidence found at the scene. The vehicle was registered to a Nathan Michaiah Reid, who resided at that address. Contact at that address was attempted, but no one answered the door. Officers located a cell phone just outside the driver’s side door of the vehicle, which was taken for evidence.

The following day Reid came into the lobby of the Punta Gorda Police Department. He stated that he had lost his cell phone and that he had been able to track the phone’s location to the police department. Reid was interviewed by officers where he had admitted to having driven the vehicle home alone from the downtown area, but stated that he did not remember getting into an accident or arriving at home. It was also determined that Reid’s driver’s license was currently suspended for failure to complete substance abuse education. Reid later stated that he had thought he had hit something, but continued home anyway. He stated he believed the damage to his vehicle had been caused by someone he had been in an accident with in retaliation for his leaving the scene.

Reid was issued a criminal citation for Leaving the Scene of an Accident and a traffic citation for Failure to Provide Proof of Insurance.

Beware of Alarm Contractor Scams

Posted: June 6, 2021

On June 9, 2021, the Punta Gorda Police Department responded to a home on Napoli Lane regarding a suspicious incident. The homeowner stated that two individuals came her door on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 around 7:30 p.m. The two individuals, one white male and one white female, claimed that they had been sent by the alarm company to update the alarm system from 3G to 5G and that they needed to “change to chip” in the alarm box inside the home. The homeowner stated that they had arrived in an unmarked black Lexus, had no formal company identification, and were holding where holding what appeared to be a work order.

Since the homeowner had not scheduled any work to be done on her alarm system, and because she felt the situation was suspicious, she made the right decision and refused to open the door for the individuals. The homeowner contacted her alarm company who stated that they had not sent out contractors to upgrade her alarm system and that the individuals were not employees of the alarm company.

It has not yet been determined if this was in fact an attempted crime or contractors who had been sent to the wrong address. At this time there have been no other similar reports taken regarding these individuals. However, residents should always be wary of potential scams and distraction burglaries whenever individuals come to your home unscheduled. It is possible that in this situation the individuals may have entered the home and attempted to convince the homeowner the alarm system needed additional repairs or upgrades that they would need to pay for upfront. It is also possible that these individuals would have entered the home and attempted to distract the homeowner while the other individual stole items from the home. Never allow anyone into your home unless you know who they are and are sure they are there for legitimate reasons.

Police Attempting to Locate Missing & Endangered Juvenile

Posted: May 14, 2021
Updated: May 16, 2021

Missing Juvenile Janiya Holness

The Punta Gorda Police Department is attempting to locate fifteen year old missing and endangered female, Janiya Holness. Holness left her home in Seven Palms Apartments in Punta Gorda earlier this afternoon and has not been seen since. If you locate Holness, please contact your local law enforcement agency or dial 911. If you have information on her whereabouts, please contact the Punta Gorda Police Department by calling 941-639-4111 in reference to case number 21-01881.

It was discovered that on Friday afternoon Holness was seen at the Walmart located at 375 Kings Highway wearing a pink top, shorts, and dark in color shoes. Holness was picked up at that Walmart by someone driving the four-door vehicle in the photo below.

Vehicle seen picking up Holness
Holness at Walmart

Punta Gorda Police Make Department Policies Public

Posted: May 3, 2021

The Punta Gorda Police Department has made their Standard Operating Procedures, otherwise known as department policies, available to the public through their website at www.puntagordapolice.com. The department has nearly 200 Standard Operating Procedures covering everything from staff briefings and uniforms to how officers should respond to resistance and the use of firearms.

“As part of our continuing effort to build trust with our community and increase transparency, we have decided to take this step to ensure that our community understands how their police department functions,” says Chief Pam Davis.

The police department conducts routine reviews of all Standard Operating Procedures and the public versions will be updated when changes are made. Certain policies containing exempt and confidential information have not been released through the website, but may still be available with redactions through a public records request.