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Stranger sleeping on Gulfport porch has a dark past

GULFPORT — It's not unusual, say Gulfport police, for someone to get drunk at a local bar and end up at the wrong house.

What is unusual is when a person has a criminal history like the man police picked up sleeping on a porch at 4730 27th Ave. S.

Sgt. Robert Burkhart said police were dispatched to the home on April 18 after a resident called to complain that a strange man was ringing her doorbell and knocking on her door. It was 2:28 a.m.

When police got there, they found a man asleep on a chair on the porch. His shoes and socks were off and his dentures were on the ground.

"He actually rang our doorbell," said Christin Estum, who lives in the house.

"My husband said, 'Don't answer it,' but I was afraid someone was going to break into the house," she said.

So, she peeked out a window to see who was there.

"I didn't recognize him," she said. So she called 911.

"The Gulfport police were here in a minute … and then a fire truck and an ambulance came, too," she said.

"We get weird things around here, but nothing like that," Estum said.

The man refused to identify himself to police, so he was taken to the Pinellas County Jail, where he was booked as John Doe and charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence, Burkhart said.

He was fingerprinted and identified through an electronic system as William Padgett, 44, of 5214 29th Ave. S.

Later that day, police were alerted that there has been a warrant for Padgett's arrest in Vancouver, Wash., since March 21, 2008, for failing to register as a sex offender. Vancouver did not want to extradite him, however.

"It's an expensive plane ride, or van ride, to bring back a person who fails to register," Burkhart said.

Police also discovered that Padgett was not registered here, so a felony charge of failure to register as a sex offender was added to his two misdemeanors.

Further investigation found that Padgett had been arrested in Oregon — where Burkhart said he lived before moving to Washington — on charges of domestic abuse, harassment, assault, hit and run, sodomy, possession and delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of rape and sex abuse.

He had been convicted of rape and sex abuse, Burkhart said.

"We were surprised to see he's been a sex offender for two years and has been able to elude arrest. Finding a sex offender is not that unusual; finding one that's had a warrant out on him for two years is," Burkhart said.

Padgett was arraigned and released on $5,000 bail.

He must appear on the charges in Pinellas County Court.

Stranger sleeping on Gulfport porch has a dark past 04/27/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 12:50pm]
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