Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man accused of using black widow spiders to stalk woman he dated, her boyfriend

BROOKSVILLE — The director of a Pasco County alcoholic treatment center was arrested Saturday on charges of stalking after authorities say he carried on a campaign of harassment that included black widow spiders.

Michael Burcum, 65, dated Kimberly Sonnenschen, 47, for three weeks in March, according to an arrest report. The alleged stalking began when she broke up with him and went back to dating longtime boyfriend Stephen Boyce, 52.

Burcum, a former contractor who is now the director of the A Club of Pasco County Inc. in New Port Richey, told deputies the two were ruining his reputation by talking about him.

Deputies say Burcum then began harassing the couple with letters and e-mails, some of which he posted on trash cans outside Boyce's workplace.

At one point, reports say Burcum put black widow spider eggs in Boyce's mailbox that hatched by the time Boyce went for his mail. Boyce told authorities Burcum keeps the spiders as pets.

Boyce was not bitten by the spiders, according to the report.

Rick Vetter, a research associate at the University of California Riverside, said a black widow bites used to be fatal affairs that have become much less threatening due to advances in medicine. Left untreated, the bites can still cause pain and flu-like symptoms.

"You wouldn't want it to happen to you," he said.

Burcum was released Saturday from the Hernando County Detention Center on $1,000 bond.

Melvin Backman can be reached at mbackman@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Man accused of using black widow spiders to stalk woman he dated, her boyfriend 07/06/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 10:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor's race has been making headlines for nearly two months as Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker have been making speeches, pressing the flesh at fundraisers and gathering their ground forces for an election battle that has already broken fundraising records.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. Tampa moves to pause permits for 5G wireless equipment to assess impact of new Florida law

    Blogs

    To business groups, the bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed Friday will clear the way for superfast 5G wireless communications and give Florida an edge in attracting high-tech companies.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other local officials have worried that a new state law aimed at facilitating the installation of 5G wireless technology could clutter scenic corridors like Tampa's Riverwalk.
  3. Trump takes another swipe at CNN after resignations over retracted Russia story

    National

    NEW YORK — President Donald Trump used the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to resume his attack on the network's credibility Tuesday.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Clearwater woman dies after losing control of SUV, flipping in Palm Harbor

    Accidents

    A Clearwater woman died early Tuesday morning when she lost control of her SUV and crashed in Palm Harbor, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue

    Softballpreps

    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former LSU/Countryside softball player AJ Andrews, now w/ Akron, is the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year history. (Courtesy of Rawlings)