Rat-infested home in PGI gets new owner

The city of Punta Gorda recently acquired an abandoned, rat-infested home on Belaire Court in Punta Gorda Isles. The home has sat empty since around 2013.

I am not surprised at which story was the most-read on our website last week. I saw this story blip into the Top Five two weeks ago and my first thought was, "This is going to jump to #1."

And it did.

I'm talking, of course, about our "rat house" story. Yup, you read the right. A "rat house."

There is the house in Punta Gorda that apparently got abandoned by its owner. And it's not a shabby house. It's a nice home in a great neighborhood. We don't know why the owner abandoned it.

But when the owner left, the rats moved in. People actually took video of the rats scurrying across the front of the house.

“It was awful,” Punta Gorda Vice Mayor Debby Carey said. “You can actually hear them moving at night if you bang on the garage door.”

But there is good news now. The city recently acquired the home at 295 Belaire Court through a code enforcement lien foreclosure.

After getting title to the home, the city can go inside the home and start cleaning it up and fixing the problems. The land and home are worth more than $200,000 so it's a good investment for the city.

To read more about this rat house and the history behind it, visit:

OK, let's move on with the rest of the Top Five:

Gabby Petito

Body camera footage shows Gabby Petito showing an officer how she said her boyfriend Brian Laundrie grabbed her face during a dispute on Aug. 12 in Moab, Utah.

#2: Gabby Petito Coverage

Once again, our coverage of the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito and then the search for her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, takes up many of the spots in our Top 100.

This past week, the most-read story from our Gabby coverage was the one with the headline, "Former FBI agent, US marshal give insight on Laundrie case." You can read that story at:

I suspect, however, that our most recent story on Laundrie's body being found will be the most-read in our Top Five next week. 

Ariana Carroll

#3: Mother allegedly puts gun in kindergartner's backpack

This could have had a very tragic ending.

A mother was arrested and accused of putting a loaded handgun in her child's backpack, then forgetting about it. The child then unwittingly took it to Taylor Ranch Elementary School.

Fortunately, the child brought the gun to the attention of a teacher, who then alerted school officials.

Ariana Carroll, 26, of the 200 block of Rich Street in Venice, was arrested. She said she was cleaning out her car the night before and placed the gun in the backpack, then forgot she left it there.

There is a whole lot more to this story. To read all the details, visit:

#4: After 14-hour Gulf search, man found dead off Venice

A 69-year-old man who fell off a fishing vessel was found dead in the Gulf 49 miles offshore Venice, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

I must say, I was stunned that they found this man in the first place. He was on a fishing vessel and had fallen off the boat the night before.

What were the odds of finding a single human being in the vast expanse that is the Gulf of Mexico?

To get more details on exactly what happened and when the Coast Guard began searching, read:

#5: Critical injury in Englewood East crash

When vehicle accidents happen in our communities, our readers want to to know what happened and if they know who was in the crash.

This is especially true if the accident happens during the day and is seen by hundreds, if not thousands, of motorists.

This is what happened in Englewood when around 2:30 p.m. one day, an SUV hit a pickup at Sunnybrook Boulevard and Regina Drive.

The SUV driver drove out in front of the pickup, driven by an 87-year-old Rotonda man. The pickup slammed into the front of the SUV, spinning it into the grass.

The SUV had minor injuries but the pickup truck driver went to the hospital with critical injuries.

To read more about the incident, visit:

Ronald Dupont Jr. is the digital editor for The Daily Sun and the Venice Gondolier. He can be reached at Ronald.Dupont@YourSun.com.

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