Advertisement
  1. Archive

Some residents upset by Lizardman's hunting

On any given night, he calls the St. Petersburg Police Department to let them know where he'll be. Dispatchers know him as "the Lizardman."

His real name is Jules Restina and he canvasses neighborhood alleyways at night searching for the small lizards that he sells for 50 cents apiece.

On a good night he can collect more than 500 anoles, Restina said.

"What I do is I check in with police dispatch before I go to work at night and let them know what neighborhood I'm going to be in, so they can be aware in case there are any complaints, and I can perform neighborhood watch for them. It's a very valuable service I provide," Restina said.

But at least one family says Restina has ventured onto their property, and their neighbor's, during his searches.

"The police say he never goes onto private property, but that's not true because we've caught him on private property," said Kathy Dougherty.

Her husband, Joel, said he and his neighbors have encountered "the Lizardman" several times over the last four years. "He's very confrontational," Joel Dougherty said.

Most recently, Mr. Dougherty said, he called the police on Nov. 28 to report that the Lizardman had been on his property.

"(The dispatcher) said, 'Well actually, he called in and said he'd be in that neighborhood,' " Mr. Dougherty said.

"This has happened numerous times. The police have been called and they're like 'There's nothing we can do. He's allowed to walk in the alley.' "

Police spokesman Bill Proffitt said dispatchers have known of "the Lizardman" for years. "There's never been any indication that he's not harmless, that he's a problem," he said.

Proffitt said police don't have a record of any complaints against Restina.

Restina, 53, discounts the Doughertys' allegations.

"I'm basically a do-gooder. When I do my lizards, I don't bother people. I don't go into their yards," he said.

In fact, Restina said, he hasn't been in the Doughertys' west St. Petersburg neighborhood for more than a year. He mostly works out of the Old Northeast area, he said.

"I've had no run-ins with anyone in the community, and I haven't even been working very much at all lately," he said

The Doughertys said they had several concerns about "the Lizardman."

"Had there been a real prowler and I called, would they not come out because they're thinking it's him?" Kathy Dougherty wondered.

"He's got a bright flashlight that he carries and shines it in windows. He may be perfectly harmless, but I know they wouldn't allow it in certain neighborhoods, so why would they allow it in mine?"

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement