William Hunter Hardesty, a 31-year-old resident of Maryland, decided to take a vacation down to the Florida Keys, but his actions while on his trip ultimately resulted in his arrest.
Hardesty was nearby a harbor when one of his friends began taking a cell phone video. Hardesty can be seen leaning over the water with a fish in hand. The video pans over, and the viewers can clearly see a beautiful Pelican swimming along. Suddenly, the video shows Hardesty jumping from his position and landing directly atop the pelican.
Then, Hardesty grabs the bird and tries to capture it with his bare hands. The whole idea wasn’t planned out well, and the Pelican immediately used his giant beak to peck at the suspect. Thankfully, the Pelican freed himself and fled from the area. Hardesty, on the other hand, simply climbed back up from the water and continued on with his vacation.
Later, he posted the whole video onto his social media page. He bragged and boasted about how he had tackled a Pelican in Florida, and how he was probably wanted by the authorities for his actions. The Pelican is a federally protected animal, and Hardesty obviously knew that when making these statements.
Nearby witnesses, who love Florida’s wildlife, eventually reached out to the authorities about the incident. Police located the Facebook video in question, and they were able to positively identify the suspect. Authorities tracked down Hardesty, and they eventually caught up with him at an Ocean City hotel in Maryland. Now, he’s being charged with animal cruelty and awaiting extradition back to Florida.